Sunday, November 15, 2009

Forgotten Ads: When An Advertisement Lasts Longer Than The Product It Advertised

Hey guys,
This is my first post as a guest blogger and I wanted to make it special. While trying to decide on a topic I remembered something interesting I had once seen on 39th Street and 5th Avenue. I was walking around in Midtown and I noticed a plaque on the side of an HSBC Bank building. Curious as to why there would be a plaque there I decided to read it and learned that on that particular spot there used to be a mansion and barn owned by Dr. John D. Wendel (click here for a picture or here for a brief New York Times summary of the house's history). I would never have guessed that 5th Avenue could ever have been home to mansions and barns and I was shocked to see how New York City has changed since the early 20th century.
Remembering this story, I decided to see if I could find any remnants of advertisements from the past that, for some reason or another, have been undisturbed. The way I saw it, Advertisements would be a great window into the history of New York because by looking at ads we can learn about the people that they targeted. My research led me to an amazing website called "Forgotten NY." The Forgotten NY website has an entire section devoted to advertisements that have never been taken down and have somehow survived for years (some even dating all the way back to the 1890's). According to the site, some of these ads have been around for over fifty years longer than the products that they actually advertised.
kodak.jpg An old Kodak ad kresge.jpg
Kresge's, shown in this picture, was the original name of the popular discount department store Kmart

I would highly recommend taking a look around the site (Forgotten NY), if only to see just how far marketing in general has come in the last century or so. You may even be surprised by an ad for something you vaguely remember from your childhood!
I just want to end off by saying that I hope you enjoy this journey through time as much as I did and stay tuned for more posts in the future.

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