4 Historical Ad Campaigns
4 Historical Ad Campaigns. Sometimes I wonder why people celebrate the birth of a baby destined to save humanity by trading a piece of jewelry for a plastic toy or a trendy jacket. So, why do we do it? Find out more about Christmas, marketing, and the 20th century today on MarketingDeals365. Today we will explore the various marketing campaigns of the 20th century that have had a significant impact on American society and consumerism in general.
I love the topic of marketing and psychology. I am fascinated by how carefully crafted marketing campaigns can affect the behaviors of millions of people. It can even convince families that new traditions are merely a continuation of the old. I am told that Christmas is about celebration and giving and showing love to those in your life. Yet, I have found that there is more of an illusion of choice when it comes to celebrating this auspicious holiday, and a lot of that has to do with the History of the 20th century and the social impact of the Cold War.
The surge of marketers depicted so well in “Mad Men” nestles the choices between the conflicts of capitalism versus communism.
The more elaborate a Christmas celebration, the more Americans could embrace the winning system of capitalism over communism and Christianity over forced atheism.
4 Historical Ad Campaigns | 1700 banner ads per month
And so, it became about expressing American identity more than any particular Christian identity, and consumerism was a crucial part of that expression. Many of us might be familiar with my mom’s favorite story of the Three Wise Men who granted gifts to the Baby Jesus, but that is not precisely why we exchange carefully wrapped trumpets and dolls, DVDs, and iPads on December the 25th.
Remarkably, a brand can override our senses so thoroughly, yet they can have a startling effect on the brain without the brain’s owner even noticing. A recent study of banner ads, for example, shows that only one-tenth of one percent of banner ads will be clicked for more information.
Nevertheless, spending on banner ads continues to grow. Without any ad blocking technology, the average internet user will see about 1700 banner ads per month.
The reason: banner ads are at least 150% more effective at spreading brand recognition than either physical mail or telemarketing phone calls. One recent study showed that 75% of internet users could identify banner ads with their marked products, despite having never clicked on the ads themselves for more information. Brand recognition and loyalty affect the choices of consumers directly.
A study of energy drink preferences conducted in 2010 found that 47% of dedicated Red Bull customers preferred Monster but only when it was served in a blind taste test.
Scientific tests run on randomly selected subjects in the study showed that if they consumed an energy drink with the brand name present, their frontal cortex began to overreact, effectively convincing their taste buds that they were incorrect about the pleasure of the taste.
4 Historical Ad Campaigns | classic Coca-Cola
The most famous case of this kind of brand loyalty in drinks can be found in the cola wars of the 1980s. Famously Pepsi found that its blind taste tests revealed a significant preference for their cola over classic Coca-Cola. When delivered in branded cups, Coca-Cola always won, but when provided in transparent plastic or white paper cups, approximately 60% of dedicated Coke drinkers chose Pepsi.
Coca-Cola is one of the major brands that has changed Christmas over time. We learned last week about the History of Santa Claus as a figure in Christmas celebrations, or rather, not. The current brand of the fat jolly man in a bright red suit is related to the successful international advertising campaign by Coca-Cola in the 1930s. Haddon Sundblom was the ad man behind dozens of campaign images that tied Coca-Cola to Christmas by portraying Santa Claus in Coca-Cola’s trademark red colors.
Coca-Cola was not the first company or even the first soda to show Santa Claus this way. Still, in an age when Santa Claus was depicted in myriad different ways, the campaign’s continued and sustained portrayal of Santa as a fat jolly man in bright red colors helped define Santa Claus in an easily identifiable marker that we still recognize today.
During the Great Depression, gifts and toys were hard to come by, but the ad campaign showed that even a small token – a bottle of the world-famous beverage – could bring cheer to a young person’s Christmas celebration. The recreation of Santa Claus became even more pronounced in the following few decades. Coca-Cola and American Christmases began to represent the bounty of capitalism in a world threatened by communism.
It became patriotic and genuinely American to celebrate a particular form of Christmas, regardless of the beliefs of one’s specific religion. Even those who belong to Christian sects that underplay or downplay the Christmas holiday began to embrace the capitalist side of Christmas.
It symbolized the feast or famine view of the Cold War. Coca-Cola’s annual marketing campaigns underscored a wider historical conflict that would shape American society in countless ways. Advertisements have changed more in society than just Christmas and beverage choices. They have altered the way people look at themselves, and they have transformed expectations of natural beauty. A great example of this cultural reverberation can be found in the curious tradition of women expected to shave their legs, rain or shine, summer or winter.
It does not reflect some ideal of hygiene. Studies have not revealed a hygienic benefit to shaving. Nevertheless, this American tradition is growing in fashion across the world. So, why did it begin at all? Although the shaving of hair can be found throughout history, including ancient Egypt and Greece, the critical year to this story seems to be 1915.
4 Historical Ad Campaigns | A few advertisements began to target women
WWI was raging, domestic spending was lagging in favor of the war, and a few advertisements began to target women as a way to sell more razors. From 1915 on, advertising razors to women grew with the rise of the flapper girl and her higher hemlines in the 1920s.
By the onset of WWII, nylons had been declared essential to the war effort. Many women – flappers or otherwise – had to go bare-legged. By shaving their legs, women could then add a touch of makeup, draw a line up the back of their leg, and give the appearance of nylons, even when the sale of nylons were prohibited.
Then the bikini and the mini-skirts of the 1950s and ’60s fed this ideal of shaven legs, and thus a marketing campaign in 1915 changed an entire country’s attitude towards leg hair. Regardless of gender, no daily beauty ritual is complete without a little attention to preventing body odor, yet the human battle against sweat and smells is relatively new.
Before the 20th century, it was simply a part of life. Everything changed when a surgeon’s daughter began to market the powder he used for keeping hands dry during surgery. Edna Murphey bottled this substance as a way to fight sweat and body odor.
Her product – called “Odor-o-no” did not become very popular itself, but it inspired the advertising man, James Young, to create a market where there was none. Throughout the 1920s, he created a series of ads to make body odor no longer an acceptable side effect of life.
He claimed that those who sweat in public just don’t belong and suggested that failing to buy his product could cause them to lose their job. And now, anyone who fails to use underarm deodorant is – and frankly should be – ostracized. Failing to practice good hygiene today can lead to being fired.
James Young’s outrageous warnings have become a reality.
Now, let’s imagine that two people rid themselves of body hair and body odor long enough to be attractive to each other. If they decide to get married, the chances are that one will give the other a magnificent diamond. It’s tradition, after all. But, the focus on diamonds is relatively new itself.
4 Historical Ad Campaigns | De Beers Diamond Company
It began in 1948 with a marketing campaign by De Beers Diamond Company. In 1947, a young copywriter named Frances Gerety took advantage of her position as the only female employee at her advertising company to declare herself the expert on all things feminine. This would include weddings and engagements, so she wrote a slogan and sent it up for approval: A diamond is forever.
Diamonds – those hardest of rock substances, and they glitter so well – what a lovely euphemism for long-lasting true love. Rather than invest your love with gold or silver bands as a promise to marry, grooms could show themselves even more dedicated by acquiring this rare and more expensive stone – what an effective campaign.
Those who opt out give the impression of being cheap or less dedicated to their decision to marry. This brings me back to the beauty of the Christmas season. Those who wish to opt out of the religious portion of this holiday might find themselves seen as scrooges or grinches who are cheap or unwilling to have fun. Christmas’ slow, steady march away from the minor holiday of the Christian faith to the marketing epicenter of the year is often portrayed as the continuation of tradition.
Many television pundits even bemoan the “war on Christmas” by unknown politically correct forces. Yet, Christmas now is more significant than ever, much bigger than the poorly recalled realities of the childhoods of Baby Boomers.
Today’s three-month-plus Christmas buying extravaganza demonstrates the hold that the Cold War continues to have over American identity through the guise of generosity and religion. Isn’t it time to assess the behemoth of enforced consumerism that Christmas has become? Well, perhaps.
But, our brains are too overloaded by marketing messages even to notice. That’s not tradition.
It’s just marketing psychology. And, it’s fascinating.