art deco advertising, sydney, 1930s (picture perfect #4)

February 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Art Deco advertising, Sydney, 1930’s / Sam Hood | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

If you want to know the stylistic development of culture and pop culture in the 20th century and you don’t have that much interest in the details of its content, I think you just need to look at and watch as many adverts as you can. This advert from the 1930s uses art deco stying – look at the head of the woman to the right of the Nestle picture! – to advertise small, mundane things. Advertising moves almost as fast as we do. Right now it’s stuck in some kind of hideous viral video rut, which I find particularly annoying. People  just watch something funny and talk about it, same as ever; I think aiming for the style of stupid videos on Youtube is a bad idea, because it’s not really the style that makes them go viral – it’s whether or not it’s funny, or whether or not people find it genuine and entertaining. Maybe we’ll get more great adverts like the Hovis one that swept through the 20th century, which takes the style of some popular homegrown British films and telly shows and runs with it, clutching a small loaf of bread as it goes (becoming a minor viral hit itself in the process), or maybe we’re just going to be stuck with stupid men singing annoying songs forever, as they become less and less interesting. Or maybe the marketers and ad men will find other things to become obsessed with.

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Sorry I haven’t posted much recently – I’m spending a lot of my time reading Lorine Niedecker, Shakespeare plays and Charles Olson for essays and general university stuff at the moment, which doesn’t leave that much time for other things. I am really glad, though,  that the BBC is running a lot of shows about books at the moment, and if I get time I want to talk about In Their Own Words, which was on last year and is being repeated at the moment. It’s amazing and smart and unassuming, in all the ways that Sebastian Faulks’s show (the first episode of which I found sexist and irritating) just isn’t. It’s educational and mentions issues to do with gender etc. without needing them to be the focus of the show. It talks about Barbara Cartland, Evelyn Waugh and Alice Carter. If you didn’t catch it last year, you should watch it now. It’s on iplayer. Go on.

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