Thursday, March 31, 2011

Guess Who Dunnit? Part 1

The other day I received an email from David Roach, who has been a frequent guest author here on TI. David wrote:

"If you’re looking for a few days entries I have a sort of cheeky suggestion for you - which will put me out of my misery. Each day you feature all sorts of great artists, but how about some entries where we don’t know who the artist is? I have some stunning book covers which I know the TI readers would enjoy, but I’ve no idea who they’re by."


"Do you think it might make an interesting entry of anonymous images which the readers could maybe identify?"


"I don’t know how riveting it would be but I know I’d sure be intrigued to hear who the readers think they might be by."


"Hey, I know it’s not the greatest offer you’ve ever had but I thought I’d throw it out there in case you’re stuck for an entry one time."


Actually, I thought it was a GREAT idea - and I told David so. Before I knew it he was flooding my inbox with scans - wonderful scans! So here is the first batch for your perusal, dear readers.


Can you guess who dunnit?


* For the time being, while these artists remain unknown, I've included them in my British Illustrators Flickr set

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Oddball Ad Campaigns of the 1940s: White Rock's Topless Tinkerbell

If the purpose of advertising is to grab the viewer's attention and set your product apart from the competition, then kudos to White Rock Beverage's ad agency, circa 1946 - mission accomplished!

White Rock certainly set themselves apart from other soft drink companies with this campaign... and no doubt grabbed the attention of more than a few consumers. I'm just not sure if an ad series featuring a topless girl was the way to do it.


Sure, it probably sounded like a great idea when it was pitched (or maybe the three martini lunches made it sound more reasonable). The company logo featured its mascot, Psyche, a mythological/fairytale character who appeared on White Rock's product labels in what looks to be an old engraving from the 1800s.*


Unfortunately that image of Psyche doesn't quite translate seamlessly into a then-modern context just because the illustrations always showed her with an arm obscuring her bare breasts... or even worse, pretended they weren't bare breasts because they were rendered without nipples!


The audacity of these ads very nearly leaves me at a loss for words. Consider this February '47 offering below, for example. The headline suggests its a classic wife-catches-cheating-husband scenario.


The husband's stammering response confirms he's feeling caught in the act:



The explanation proffered by Psyche is of the sort that would only make sense to someone who had already enjoyed several stiff drinks (mixed with White Rock Sparkling Water, of course).


Ooohhhh, I see.... she's not actually a semi-nudist at a party for people who own clothes - she's a symbol! Amazingly (and only in a White Rock ad) the lady of the house buys it. Sort of.

Apparently the missus is willing to set aside her concerns about her husband hiring a stripper for the dinner party so long as the guests are well lubricated. Just look at the expression on hubby's face. He can hardly believe he's going to get away with this. Priceless!


Long before the streaking craze of the early '70s, White Rock's topless tinkerbell could be seen in all her glory, working her magic...


... from the stage...


... to the screen...


... to the streets.


Thankfully, by mid-1947 Psyche had discovered that her gauzy toga bottom came with enough material to fashion a top.


And by early '48 it was actually safe to have her in the same room with the kids!


In reality, I suspect that someone higher up at White Rock was getting tired of fielding letters of complaint from irate church and PTA groups! (But that's just my sneaking suspicion).

* An article in a 1971 issue of the Journal of the American Institute of Graphic Arts describes how Psyche became the symbol of White Rock beverages:

In the 1890s the executives of the White Rock company were looking for a trademark that would reflect the "clear sparkling purity of their products." At the Chicago World's Fair of 1893, they saw the painting "Psyche at Nature's Mirror" by German artist Paul Thurmann. It was exactly what they wanted. They purchased the trademark rights to the painting and Psyche became "The White Rock Girl."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mennen Maidens and Barbasol Babes

Hhmmm... gorgeous well-endowed gal in revealing low cut top leaning forward and stroking her long curvy legs while giving us a 'come hither' look and the message "Your chances... are better..."

Nope, no double entendre here!


Long before Axe discovered you could sell grooming products to men by draping delicious damsels all over your advertising, Mennen had that number. The ladies were lounging around in lingerie waiting for men with a smooooth Mennen shave!


Meanwhile, over at Barbasol they'd come up with an entirely different strategy. I don't know what they used to put in this stuff, but apparently it was something so intoxicating it knocked women on their ass...


... and dropped them to their knees at the mere thought of any guy who'd squeezed his tube that day. Barbasol tube that is.


Lest you find images like this a little risqué and manipulative, let me assure you that the ad men of the '40s and '50s absolutely did not intend to mislead in any way. They earnestly believed that showing beautiful dancing girls together in a state of semi-undress was the most sincere and effective way of describing the beneficial qualities of a men's shaving product.


These ads were conceived with only a desire to inform and educate.


About croquet, for instance.


Or popping popcorn.


Any sexual innuendo you may perceive in these ads...


... is purely a figment of your prurient 21st century imagination.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Noel Sickles 1940s Advertising Art

Noel Sickles advertising art is pretty hard to come by. Here are a few examples I've managed to find from the 1940s.








* My Noel Sickles Flickr set.

* Scorchy Smith and the Art of Noel Sickles - a must read for any serious fan of illustration art - is available from IDW Publishing

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Noel Sickles Illustrates "The Source"

From Reader's Digest Condensed Books, 1965















* My Noel Sickles Flickr set.

* Scorchy Smith and the Art of Noel Sickles - a must read for any serious fan of illustration art - is available from IDW Publishing