Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Charlie Allen's 'Steel Lady' - in B&W

After reading Charlie's note that his clients on the long running series of ads for US Steel decided to introduce a woman spokesmodel, I knew I had to see some examples and hear what sounded like one of those classic ad industry stories.

Charlie generously complied, writing, "I can hear the wheels going when the steel and BBD&O execs got together...."

'nobody wants to look at steel products, plants, tractors, etc.! Let's introduce a pretty girl to soften things up....doesn't matter if she's out in a field or factory!'

"I took a slew of shots of a beautiful model, facing different directions, gesturing, smiling forever....and used those, almost forever!"

"She was really a gorgeous model....and I used her on many ads in the '50s and '60s. Cannot remember her name.....and of course she remained nameless on the steel ads. Just a fantasy of the ad execs of those days!"

"Today's ads are about as silly," Charlie concluded, "just 'up to date'."

My Charlie Allen Flickr set.


  1. I personally favour those "Steel Teeth" over the "Steel Lady"...look at those furrows in black and white, the light and shade in the harrow, the farmer on his tractor, the "parallelism" (Hodler) and unity with the ambient landscape / whereas Mrs. Lady Steel looks comparatively mannered on the scene, but nonetheless charming and of course perfecly executed as anything depicted here this week.

  2. I loooove the drawing of the woman lighting the candles at the dining table. It capsulizes the kitstche of that period beautifully.

    And wow! Dig the Christmas ornaments on the Bonsai tree!

  3. Yeah, that Bonsai tree, even the cupboard - the Japanese influence.
    They conquered Japan in World War II, but the Japanes Influence...

    Who's conquering whom?