Sunday, April 29, 2012
Money in the Mad Men Era: New, Old, Turned On
Three ads from the summer of 1966:
New Money. The post-World-War-II boom raised the net worth of many a business and professional person to a level that suggested the need for investment advice. This U.S. Trust ad, prepared by The Merrill Anderson Company, seems simple enough. But look at the type-setting of the body copy. The first paragraph is tightly spaced, to avoid carrying a word (a widow) over to the fourth line. The second line of the second paragraph is loosely spaced, presumably to avoid hyphenating. Ad agencies obsessed over such things in those days. (And they did not have Adobe software to help them.)
Old Money. In the 1960s as today, New Money aspired to the trappings and patina of Old Money. Perhaps that's why this Chase Manhattan nest-egg ad features what surely was an Old Money avocation: mushroom hunting.
Curious detail: Photos in earlier nest-egg ads draw the eye to the individual, then lead you to notice his or her shackles and the nest egg. Here, the egg dominates the scene. Interpret the psychological implications as you will.
Turned-On Money. The VW van – which the maker kept insisting was a station wagon – became a 'Sixties icon. When trust-fund babies wanted to drop out, take off and turn on, they did it with this vehicle. Or so the popular notion had it.
VW was a star client of Doyle Dane Bernbach. Think of how superstar hedge-fund managers have shaken up the investment world. That's pretty much what Dole Dane Bernbach did to Madison Avenue.