An American Institution

I had thought about using my normal lunchtime writing slot to discuss this whole “post your brassiere color” thing going around Facebook, and what it says about the changes with respect to modesty in society. I mean, in the 1960s would women have done this (if, of course, Facebook was around)? Anyway, I’m not going to discuss it. I found something better. Advertising.

The Data Surfer over at the Sacramento Bee has an interesting post today about an advertising archive at Duke University. This archive is an online collection of over 7,000 U.S. and Canadian print ads, covering five product areas (beauty and hygiene, radio and television sets, transportation and World War II propaganda), spanning 1911-1955, that is searchable by product name, company, general category and date range. The ads feature many well-known brands that have existed for decades (like Ivory Soap, Crest, Greyhound Bus and Listerine), as well as those that have vanished from the marketplace (Burma-Shave, Wildroot, Braniff). They also have an online collection of vintage television commericals dating from the 1950s to the 1980s. The images are just wonderful. Alas, I haven’t yet been able to find any of Stan Freberg’s classics.

Brings back memories.