Sometimes you have to look back to have an idea of where you want to go in the present, or future. Advertisement has come a long way from traditional print and television to web and digital platforms. And lets not forget the varied forms of modern advertisement, which includes interactive billboards, guerrilla marketing, retail interiors, architecture, fashion, wearables, holograms…the list goes on. But vintage adverts are in a league and class all by themselves. In particular, mid-century advertisements. These adverts pretty much laid down the foundations for the way advertising has grown today. Advertising now transcends across multiple platforms and mediums, but back then, print advertising was king. Back in 2012, Taschen had released a collection of what they’ve deemed the best ads of the 50s & 60s. So let’s take a trip down memory lane (if you’re old enough to remember). Here are some of those adverts just below (photos courtesy of Huffington Post via Taschen).


Initial Thoughts: Bold, contrast colours. And blackface. I’m sure it wasn’t done on purpose, the guy looks like a chic chimney sweep. I do like the chair though. You’d probably have a few PC enthusiasts screaming over this print if it was done today. Ahh the things you could get away with back in the 50s-60s.


Initial Thoughts: You’ll have to read the copy to understand the title. Just click to view the image up-close. It’s a nice bit of narrative about American Airlines and their staff going up and beyond the call of duty to meet the needs of their passengers. This advert in particular is about a businessman who was in a bit of pickle. Good illustration and classic vintage.


Mid Century Ads


Initial Thoughts: I’ve never tried Martini & Rossi’s Vermouth before….and if i have it must’ve been an age ago (obviously I need a revisit). This advert is quite classy I think. It’s engaging, elegant and has a good been of narrative to it too. Now I’m slightly thirsty.

Mid Century Ads


Initial Thoughts: Pontiac has never been ever to put themselves out there and this classic mid-century ad is true Pontiac. Big and bold. Liking the postmodern-borderline-brutalist architecture backdrop with the pristine white Ponti in front. Almost looks like a cinematic illustration. Great advert.

Initial Reaction: There’s a fair bit of copy in there, so it’s good if you have time to read. The bold “at 60 miles an hour….” headline catches my attention almost simultaneously as the image. Rolls Royce have been a product of luxury forever and this ad shows that. It’s factual without being boring. It’s got a balance of artwork & copy. And it’s not shouty or obnoxiously busy.

Mid Century Ads


Initial Reaction: Dude looks sharp. He means business. And either was a veteran turned Newspaper Editor or a rogue pirate turned legitimate CEO. But this advert is about tailoring. If you were a London City yuppie or a Wall Street alumni, this ad would appeal to your better nature. Reading the copy makes me want to go out and get my own. Sophistication is the name of Hathaway’s game. (sidenote: I’m noticing back then these ad chaps didn’t care much about hyphens).

Mid Century Ads


Initial Reaction: Reminds me of a sort of old timely movie poster. It works because it is just two tag lines and just the black backdrop. It’s simple and without any fuss. It works, no qualms from me.

Mid Century Ads


Initial Reaction: This is a funny advert! It was Vodka and banter, two of my favourite things. The copy is humourous, with a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ slant to it. Personally this one is my favourite out of the adverts listed here.




Initial Reaction: Vivid colours and great piece of illustration. And I like the ‘knockout’ twist to an otherwise typical lingerie advert. It gives it more punch and presence. Like you’d feel invincible in a Maidenform. Great advert, one of the best ones here.



Initial Reaction: Erm….it looks like something medical, like Peptobismol. It apparently was supposed to be a healthy, lose-weight alternative typical eating. Never heard of the brand before but it was rather clever of them treating the concoction like it was an actual meal in dinner plate. It’s so pink though! Like a lot of diet foods, you were probably better of eating actual food.



Initial Reaction: Ahhh Campbells! Everyone remembers that tin & brand, whether from pictures or in real life, it doesn’t matter. I like how they treat the soup like its just regular ol’ whiskey! Clever and easily one of the more captivating ads on this list.



Initial Reaction: That looks yummy, I won’t lie. Plus it its very informative without being clunky or off-putting. I never knew half of what is mentioned on the advert. It’ll definitely make you think twice when purchasing a good bunch of bananas. Decent advert, factual with a nice visual and little fuss.



Initial Reaction:….I can’t my head around this advert. I know it’s trying to be clever but my dense head can’t seem to process it. So the advert kinda falls flat for me.



Initial Reaction: “L’Oreal, because you’re worth it”. Also gurl looks a bit GOOPY in the face. But this advert isn’t about hair or Paltrow. It’s about the typewriter. The Olivetti product comes off as a sort of Dyson or Apple equivalent of typewriters. So basically, if you want efficiency and performance, get an Olivetti. Seriously though, is that why homegirl is so damn happy or is it because she’s finally found a conditioner that works for her hair?



Initial Reaction: This advert is really good. I love the tiny VW and the tagline ‘Think Small’, it is a great ad. Airy too with all the white space. I find the copy layout odd and a bit disjointed. Other then that, nice piece of artwork.



Initial Reaction: This advert is about a lawnmower…duh I know. I not sure what else to say about the advert, except it is kind of bland.



Initial Reaction: I love the double entendre in this advert. The ‘My Hope Chest’ on the chest itself and the fella trying to shoulder his lady’s chestbox. The ad concept is colourful and quirky and I do like this advert, one of the better ones for sure.



Initial Reaction: Anyone who’s ever smoked these in the 50s or ever watched Mad Men should know that Lucky Strikes were like the Coca Cola of the cigarette industry. Even though smoking was (still is) frowned upon, Lucky was indeed blessed with its huge fan following who preferred the taste. The advert clarifies why their cigarettes are better then all the rest. The ad also features Hollywood actress Betsy von Furstenberg.



Initial Reaction: I like the visual, the copy is good up to a certain point. There looks like there’s a word or two missing (or maybe I’m just reading it wrong). Besides that it is a nice ad.



Initial Reaction: I know London Fog were big but this advert has me a little confused. Is that supposed to be a can of salt? Is that just in case you get snowed in or what? Copy is good though.

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