CLOSE
Original image

10 Futuristic Ads From the Past

Original image

There's nothing quite like old advertisements to give us a look-see at what the past thought the future would look like, taste like, talk like or sound like. Ads also act as a wonderful time capsule when it comes to fashion and technology. Here are 10 that either focus on predicting the future, or, alternately, remind us just how far we've come from the not-so-distant past. Most were culled from this wonderful site: vintageadbrowser.com.

1. Bell Telephone, 1953

[In case you can't read the copy, it says: It's hard to say, young fellow, but you can be sure there are great things ahead. Today we telephone from moving automobiles, trains, airplanes and ships far out at sea. And radio microwaves beam telephone calls and television programs from tower to tower across the country. The day is coming when you'll be able to reach any telephone in the country simply by dialing a number. Perhaps some day in the future you may just speak the number into the transmitter and get your party automatically.] Vlingo, anyone, anyone?

2. National, 1960s

nationalaccounting

3. 1944

3685525648_e0d6384267_b

4. Philco, 1938

radio of future

5. Burlington Route's Zephyrs and steam trains, 1944

T2866-lrg

6. Western Air Lines, 1943

T2267-lrg

7. Admiral Radio, 1942

R0059-lrg

8. Cannon Electric Development Company, 1944

R0813-lrg

9. IBM, 1955

ibm

10. Extensys Corporation, 1977

memory

Original image
iStock
arrow
Design
This Amazing Clock Has a Different Hand for Every Minute of the Day
Original image
iStock

In the video below, you can watch Japanese ad agency Dentsu transform passing time into art. According to Adweek, the project was commissioned by Japanese stationery brand Hitotoki, which produces crafting materials. To celebrate the value of handmade items in an increasingly fast-paced world, Dentsu created a film advertisement for their client depicting their goods as a stop-motion clock.

The timepiece ticks off all 1440 minutes in the day, and was assembled in real-time against a colored backdrop during a single 24-hour take. Its "hands" were crafted from different combinations of some 30,000 disparate small items, including confetti, cream puffs, tiny toys, silk leaves, and sunglasses.

"In a world where everything is so hectic and efficient, we wanted to bring the value of 'handmade' to life," explains Dentsu art director Ryosuke Miyashita in a press statement quoted by Stash Media. "We created different combinations of small Hitotoki brand items to express each and every minute."

You can check out a promotional video for the project below, which details the arduous crafting process, or view a real-time version of the clock here.

[h/t Adweek]

Original image
LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images
arrow
History
The Time Walter Cronkite Angered R.J. Reynolds
Original image
LUKE FRAZZA/AFP/Getty Images

If you’re a stickler for the correct usage of “who” versus “whom,” or if you find yourself seething over the “10 Items or Less” sign at the grocery store, you have something in common with Walter Cronkite.

As a respected journalist and news anchor, Cronkite was very careful about his words, from his enunciation of them to the tone in which he said them—so you can imagine his indignation at being asked to deliver a line with purposely incorrect grammar.

In 1954, shortly after being named the host of a morning show on CBS, Cronkite was tasked with a live-read of a Winston cigarette ad. Though it’s hard to imagine Anderson Cooper or Lester Holt concluding a segment with an earnest plug for Budweiser or McDonald’s, anchor-read endorsements were commonplace in the 1950s. Cronkite had a problem with the commercial, but it wasn’t the product he took umbrage with—it was the tagline: “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.”

Though it may sound fine to most ears, the word “like” is actually used inappropriately. Traditionally, “like” is used as a preposition and “as” is used as a conjunction, but the Winston ad treats “like” as a conjunction, or a connecting word.

Here’s the line in action. Just a warning: If you’re a grammar purist, the phrase “tastes real good” is also sure to raise your hackles.

Cronkite refused to say the line as it was written. Instead, he delivered it the correct way: “Winston tastes good as a cigarette should.” His former English teachers may have been beaming at their television sets, but the execs at R.J. Reynolds, Winston’s parent company, weren’t so happy, and neither was their ad agency. The agency pounced on Cronkite’s correction, but he remained unapologetic. “I can’t do an ungrammatical thing like that,” he told them.

Wording wasn’t the only problem—his smoking, or lack thereof, was also an issue. Cronkite wasn’t a cigarette smoker, but after delivering the offending line to the cameras, he was supposed to take a puff from a Winston. Though he obliged, he didn’t inhale. The agency reprimanded Cronkite for that as well, feeling that a spokesperson who clearly didn’t use the product couldn't convince viewers to pick up a pack. They asked Cronkite to inhale on camera—and that’s where he drew the line. “Let’s just call this thing off,” he says he told them. “CBS was up in the rafters, of course, about it at the time.” It was Cronkite's first and only commercial.

Here’s the story straight from the anchor himself:

For the record, Cronkite wasn’t the only high-profile person who had a problem with the Winston wording. “Like goes Madison Avenue, like so goes the nation,” Ogden Nash wrote in The New Yorker.

Years later, Winston tried to capitalize on the controversy with a commercial that depicted a professor lecturing his students about the sloppily worded slogan. The students doth protest, jumping up in unison and saying, “What do you want, good grammar or good taste?”

Unimpressed, The Wall Street Journal responded to the question in a 1970 op-ed: “It doesn’t matter which you want. In a Winston ad, you don’t get either.”

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios