missgiggles's picture

I need to analyse a series of printed adverts of the same product or company from the past to the present. I was wondering what adverts have made you stop and look. What adverts did it for you. Which ones do you think are the best and why? I have to choose just one product or company and analyse the past ads to the present and ho wthey worked in those days and have they kept up their style or status of the product and if so why? Was it a celebrity they used in those days due to the fact that he/she was famous but could not be used today because they are ether not around or famous anymore etc. I have to analyse the style, the layouts, the message, the images etc and what they are trying to put across etc. In brief everything. Any suggestions on where to start? Benneton ads are good to analyse but anyone got any other ideas? Thanks.

James Scriven's picture

Altoids. Done.

missgiggles's picture

Sorry what was that? 'Altoids'? I didn;t get that. Is that a company or a product?

Conor's picture

Marlboro, Guinness or Smirnoff.

Paul Cutler's picture

It would be interesting to analyze the ads of The Greatest Show on Earth since their inception was from PT Barnum - one of the most famous marketers ever in America.

I don't like him but he's very influential.

Anti-smoking ads also seem like a likely candidate.

The milk campaign.

Target pre-cool and present.

Apple computers.

There's plenty of opportunity here…


ben_archer's picture

Hi MissG

This sounds very similar to a project called 'Zeitgeist' that appears in the History Culture Context programm in year two of the degree I teach on; students are required to analyse pictorial advertising for the same product from three different decades of the twentieth century.

In that advertising practice mirrors wider cultural concerns, my advice would be to pick something that has either always been quite consistent in it's presentation (i.e. products like life insurance or holiday packages) or shows a changing public perception over time (i.e. products like condoms or cigarettes). Generally the differences in the ads, and therefore the analysis you can wring out of them, are more pronounced between the very old and the very new, so you need to choose an advertising category, product or service that's been around for quite a while.

I personally think Benetton ads said everything about the advertiser and nothing about the product; at the height of Toscani's 'reign of infamy' my heavily pregnant co-worker (expecting for the first time, a pair of twins – which she was understandably apprehensive about) had to daily endure the very messy and unsettling visuals of the 'new born baby' poster and press campaign. I remember thinking how unfair that was.

missgiggles's picture

Thanks Ben, I'm in yr 2 of my degree too. I will take your advice on board and decide after much research. I was thinking of another idea that popped up whilst doing research was to write about the print ads that were banned and the reason for it or adverts aimed at women in the 1960's as housewives and how women are targeted now i.e. what kind of products etc and how attitudes have changed throughout the decades. What do you think? We can either choose a product and see how it has changed throughout the decades or choose a product and compare and contrast with another product that is of the smae kind i.e. perfume against another perfume or anything like I have mentioned above.

ben_archer's picture

Actually the last time I stopped to talk with a year 2 student specifically about this they ended up very much more confused than they were before I offered my tuppence worth! Research like this raises all manner of questions that necessarily don't always get answered within the project scope or timeframe.

I seem to remember there is a handy essay on this kind of thing in Design Writing Research by Ellen Lupton and J Abbot Miller. The essay deals with images of race in 1960s American advertising.

If you're wanting to do a gender-specific focus or look at the impact that 60s/70s feminism had on advertising I think you could profitably do a formal brainstorming session on this to see what you really want to look at... and it strikes me that it would be better not to try contrasting product A against product B. Good luck.

missgiggles's picture

Definately true. Better to choose the safer option than struggle. I may do the idea I mentioned above or Mcdonald adverts that have changed through out the years to more healthier advertising i.e. encouraging fruit etc or benneton ads. I like to follow advertising of one company and one product but analyse how it has changed than contrast and compare. Too much to take on board, specially when there's lots more work to be done. Thanks for you help Ben. Thank you.

blank's picture

I love the advertising from Ketel One because it's just big fat blackletter on stark white paper. Burberry does some great stuff by mixing clean type, clean lines, and amazing photographs. Camel/Kamel cigarette advertising has had the best illustrations around for most of my lifetime.

Nick Shinn's picture

Go to some weekend flea markets, with all the nostalgia stuff. There are usually one or two vendors who have old magazines. Look through the magazines until you come across a brand that is still around. IMO that's better than getting your material second hand from art director awards annuals or graphic design history books. You get a lot more context.

fallenartist's picture

Volkswagen, Citroen, Peugeot - big advertisment history

You may try FWA Ad Showcase 2007 and 2006 or Bernstein's Advertising Outdoors as part of your research.


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