Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

The 'John Hancock' series of ads that Mutual Life Insurance sponsored throughout the 1950's is really one of the finest campaigns that ever ran. Each ad is beautifully painted by a top illustrator, like these below by John Gannam, Harold Von Schmidt, and William A. Smith respectively.

As well, the copy is both entertaining and educational. A brief, beautiful history lesson, courtesy of the advertiser. What a shame no company is running something like this today!

What a great opportunity. Without a doubt, any illustrator working today would love to have such an assignment. (Are you listening, corporate America?)

William A. Smith's son, Rick, told me his dad "always researched the historical projects deeply. He loved to find historical discrepencies in existing depictions of situations he was reviewing."

To all our American friends, Happy Independence Day - and on this day when you celebrate your country's history, take a moment to enjoy these ads at full size in my American Legends Flickr set.


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  2. Thanks Leif, for your thoughtful and generous comments, and these 3 excellent examples of historical illustrations for advertising. I have had the same thoughts that today American corporations should be introducing American history in their ads when appropriate, because it IS our true foundation.

    Since the 1950's, our early history of this country has been all but eliminated from our schools, and what's left is agenda driven. That could account for corporations keeping their distance from using early American history events for advertising themes. Unfortunately what was once a source of pride, has become diluted and controversial.

    Thanks again Leif, for exposing us to a little truth, pride and REAL American History. Are you listening American History teachers?

    Tom Watson

  3. Companys today would never do fantastics ads like the one seen here......

    They would not understand, nor have enough page space for there L-O-G-O!!!

    ha ha ha

    great stuff L.P.

  4. Thank you very much. This was a great help.