The Gentle Persuaders – Vintage Hair Care Ads

As much as layout and design trends change, beauty care ads are usually consistently crisp across eras.  Case in point: these amazing magazine ads for hair care products, from the 1960s to the 1980s.

This gentle 1969 ad for what is no doubt a painfully savage hair dye goes a little out there with the font choice, but stays minimal and lets the eruption of blonde hair do most of the talking.


The Lady Norelco home hair dryer takes a space-age approach at selling an experience that could probably never happen, unless that phone is hooked up to an amplifier and/or the hair dryer is turned off. It’s an interesting choice to underline the headline, and the black space in the back really gives it a classy future-feel.


That font, that font, that font.  Also that’s a huge “on the go” hair care package.


This one is the busiest of this batch, but the reflective pool against the white space on the top half of the ad gives the whole thing a very clean feel.  I think this one is my favorite.

Wait, this one may be my favorite. The copy makes a neat point about using this thing to dry your fingernails, but I can’t imagine anyone made it that far.



Five Things – 4.24.17 – Coming Soon, You Angel!

1982 ABC Pac-Preview Party

It’s 1982. Pac Man’s a pretty big deal. So big that they didn’t just make a Pac-Man cartoon, NBC centered its 1982 Saturday Morning Preview Special around it.

Sort of.

Pac-Man is the carrot that Dick Clark dangles for forty five minutes through this awful special, held on the set of American Bandstand. Like the free movie tickets that come at the end of a Timeshare presentation, you have to through clip after clip of unoriginal, derivative cartoons based on existing properties.  When you’re not doing that, you’re watching Dick Clark have a hamfisted time around some children. Seriously – he doesn’t know what to do with these kids. Not 90 seconds into the special, Clark is admonishing a child for talking when he’s talking. On mic. To the camera.

The special tries to be interesting – ventriloquist Willie Taylor does a solid three minute set.

Scooby and Scrappy-Doo costumed characters show up for a clunky appearance.

Henry Winkler and Frank Welker do a table read of a scene from the Laverne and Shirley cartoon. Kids love seeing voice actors!

After a ten-minute long “clip” of The Lil’ Rascals cartoon we finally get about a forty-five minute preview of Pac-Man! Then we’re sent out of the special with a rockin’ dance party.

Seriously, there’s so little effort here. Give me a sloppy narrative or a musical act or some actual star power! At the very least, I guess it’s heartening to see a studio full of disappointed kids make the best of things. Here’s the special.


Ward’s 1971 Microwave Oven

Love that dinosaur puppet! The flaming arrow into the conestoga, not so much…




Watch a cowboy with dementia peddle a cereal based on stale waffles to a couple of overacting kids!


The Long Walk Artwork

“The Long Walk” is one of my favorite short stories by Stephen King.  This promotional artwork really catches the story, from the illustration to the red background to the font choice. Beautiful.


Heinz Ad

Guys, I don’t think this conversation actually happened, but I love the layout of this ad.



Five Things – 02.15.16 – Eye Popping Moves Like The Centipede

1. Hot Fudge

This 1974 kids’ show from Detroit has a little bit Muppet, a little bit Pinwheel, and a little bit Great Space Coaster all lumped together.

Hot Fudge Title

Originally hosted by comic Arte Johnson, Hot Fudge featured humans interacting with puppets (called “Mits”), lots of music, and segments where kids narrate things out in the real world.  Johnson was replaced by Larry Santos and Seymour the hip, green puppet after the first season, and continued to host through the rest of the series.

Arte and Mit

Seymour Mits Song Mits

For every neat thing about this show – the groovy star power, the typography, the sweet lessons – there seems to be something that didn’t age well.  The songs aren’t great for the most part, the human puppets are difficult to look at, and the production just feels flat at times compared to other kids’ shows from that era.  Still, it’s impressive for what it is – a local Detroit production gone national, and it’s certainly unique.  And I’m nuts for the design and fonts used.

Write On Arte Seymour Graphic

Here’s an episode:


2. Fifth Element Concept Art

Iamag’s got some stunning concept art from The Fifth Element up.  I’m a sucker for this stuff, and it’s remarkable to see how close the movie came to some of these concepts! Hit the link for more, but here are some of my favorites.

fifth-element25 fifth-element24-1024x648 fifth-element13 fifth-element4 fifth-element28-1024x911



3. Breakin’ and Poppin’

Before he was Carlton, Alfonso Ribeiro was Ricky Schroeder’s super-hip pal in Silver Spoons.  He was a pretty hot item back in 1985 – he did a killer Michael Jackson impersonation complete with moonwalk. His breakdancing was remarkable, too; so remarkable that someone thought it’d be a good idea to package him up and put a price tag on it.  Here’s a commercial for his video, “Breakin’ and Poppin'”.


It even comes with a foldout cardboard mat!


4. Alvin and the Chipmunks

This mid-’80s magazine ad for Alvin and the Chipmunks toys takes me back.  I had the stuffed Alvin in the middle there, and took him everywhere with me.  He’s in a box in my 2-year-old’s closet right now, and I’m still debating whether he’ll ever get to touch him.


Collect all the cute and WHAT? Unfortunately, I could only find page one of this two page ad.


5. How Long

It’s hard to describe my feelings for this.  This looks like a parody video of a 1975 hit song, but it’s real and it’s terrific.  I almost wish it were a parody though.