A picture sells a thousand words when it’s a vintage advertisement.
It’s hard to imagine collecting any of the advertisements we are bombarded with today. From ads on toilet paper to spam in our inbox, it seems like someone’s always trying to sell you something.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons we collect vintage advertisements – they can’t sell us anything anymore. Whether it’s because the product doesn’t exist any longer or because the prices that they’re offering would make today’s salesmen laugh in our faces, we can’t possibly be the target audience for the ads anymore. So turning down the volume on the sales pitch let’s us just step back and appreciate the advertisement itself.
A vintage ad is always so much more elegant than the ones aimed at us today, with higher craftsmanship and more care with the art than seems possible today. Illustration, which was probably just so much cheaper than photography back then or the only thing possible at all, gives an ad so much more polish to today’s audiences because we see it so rarely. Maybe all we need is a little distance to find the sublime through the sales pitch.
So who knows, perhaps future generations will find those “No money till August” ads charming and will obsess over real estate agent billboards. It’s hard to imagine, but it could happen.