Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Investment Ads From 1962

James Bond isn't what he was when Sean Connery debuted in "Doctor No." Neither is the world of investing. From the same 1962 issue of The New Yorker in which Geoffrey Hellman reported on his two-martini lunch with Ian Fleming, here are three ads.

Forecasting is tricky. Fifty years ago growth stocks had become the way to go. Even bond-heavy pension funds started buying them. But, then and now, picking stocks that actually grow isn't easy. Here, Shearson suggests it's like weather forecasting.

To our knowledge this Merrill Lynch column is the only brokerage ad extant that begins with Xerxes crossing the Hellespont.

"The stock market is a little like the Hellespont. Cursing and cajoling has no effect on it at all. Neither does propitiation. But the practical man who accepts its changeable nature and plans accordingly can be its master. Just as a general should read weather reports, an investor should read the financial pages of his newspaper, which are the weather reports of the stock market. *** The stock market is always subject to change without notice. That is its nature – and its fascination."                                                            
Over the past half century weather forecasting has improved by leaps and bounds. Stock-market forecasting, not so much.

The woman investor. Not a call center in sight when City ran this ad set in India.  The ad was cutting edge in one respect: The American couple have his and hers investment accounts.

" His is a portfolio earmarked for growth – composed chiefly of aggressive, common stocks with promise of a dynamic future. Hers is a more conservative program, planned for stability and made up of both stocks and bonds."

In reality, both probably shared the same investment goals. But in 1962, only the man was expected to have enough earning power to make up for serious investment losses.  The woman would have to type her way back up. 

These days? Thanks to strategic asset allocation, we all invest like women. 

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