Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bad Cover Art: Paul Simon

It's been a while since I found a piece of album cover art to pick on, so imagine my delight when I came across the cover for the 1973 Paul Simon album, There Goes Rhymin' Simon. I love the tongue in cheek name - alas, the album's cover, not so much. It's such a weird hodgepodge of a collage...you can almost hear the pre-Photoshop art director saying, "Aw, fuck it...the album needs to go to press next week, so let's just thrown some objects down on the floor and photograph them." Hence, the Mardi Gras mask, strange looking stars and stripes and kodachrome film all looking out of place. Even though the album featured several styles of music, that doesn't mean the cover needed to be discombobulated as well.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sugar is Good For You!

In the mid-60s, American sugar manufacturers had a growing crisis on their hands. Artificial sweeteners such as saccharine were being used to make food products, particularly soda, more diet-friendly and attractive to consumers. So Sugar Information Inc. launched an advertising campaign meant to show people the benefits of consuming good old-fashioned sugar. Sugar was touted as promoting energy and as an effective diet aid! Artificial sweeteners = energyless + bad.

Most of all, the ads provided some great fodder for retro blogs. Take, for example, this one featuring the very perky Mary, a high school student. From the ad copy, it sounds as if Mary is literally bouncing off her high school's walls: she arrived at school early (which means she must have gorged herself on a hearty breakfast of Frosted Flakes and Pop Tarts), her team won in gym, and as if all that physical activity didn't wear her out, she's going to do the watusi after school with her friends! But the best part of the ad is the little note to parents at the bottom, warning them against the dangers of not giving their child enough sugar. The copy reads:

Note to mothers: Exhaustion may be dangerous - especially to children who haven't learned to avoid it by pacing themselves. Exhaustion opens the door a little wider to the bugs and ailments that are always lying in wait. Sugar puts back energy fast - offsets exhaustion. Synthetic sweeteners put back nothing. Energy is the first requirement of life. Pay safe with your young ones - make sure they get sugar every day."Play safe with your young ones - make sure they get sugar every day." Sure! What parent wouldn't want a hyperactive child on a sugar high?

Need more proof of the energy producing benefits of sugar? Well, sugar keeps this surfer girl going as well!

By the way, the animal metaphores in these ads crack me..."she needs energyless artificial sweeteners like a turtle needs a seat belt...like a kangaroo needs a baby buggy..." Hey, wait a minute - a momma kangaroo might appreciate a baby buggy, instead of carrying a joey around in her pouch all day!

Mostly, though, the Sugar Information Inc ads seemed to promote sugar as an easy trick for losing weight...these next two instruct you to treat yourself to an ice cream or cookie before lunch. I think all that would accomplish would be ruining your appetite for lunch and making you ravenous later on.

"Sugar and your appestat"...I know what you're thinking: what the hell is an appestat???

In all fairness, this campaign wasn't *exactly* wrong, maybe just a little misguided. Sugar does give you energy - and runners are known to consume those gummy looking "goo" snacks for a quick boost during a race. However, the ads didn't take into consideration the sugar crash that comes after the high - what goes up must come down, as Blood, Sweat & Tears sang at the time. And, given the choice of an artificial sweetener and natural sugar, I'd choose the latter every time. I never drink diet soda or use anything other than sugar in my coffee, tea, or baked goods. But like anything else, sugar is safest in moderation - and these ads seem to be giving consumers the green light to go sugar crazy! Not something that would fly in today's obese world, for certain.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beefcake! Sexy Advertising Studs of the 70s, Part 2

Back by popular demand is a second installment of Sexy Advertising Studs of the 70s. In case you missed Part 1, that can be found here for your viewing pleasure. So many of these ads make me wonder what modeling agents were smoking in the 1970s (besides the usual.) Apparently you didn't actually have to be good looking and have a nice body to be a male model back then. You just needed a 'stache and an affinity for wearing tight fitting shirts and pants, or as many of these ads attest to...nothing at all. Can you smell the testosterone already?

So John Oates did a little modeling on the side....who knew?

You are "an animal" according to the ad copy. But those hideous stripes make me think of a zebra, not a tiger, sport.

What body suit? I'm too distracted by the serious looking 'stache.

Holy smokes. The caption for this one needs to be, "One of These Things Does Not Go With the Others" - case in point that bald bearded man at the top. Where'd they pick up that dude - Pedophiles Anonymous?

This gem comes courtesy of Retrospace. I just have two questions: 1. why do the hear muffs have to be so freakin' huge and 2. how did such a goofy looking guy get a hot chick? I know I'd dropkick both from my boudoir.

Two examples of patterned underwear...never looks good, even when being modeled by a long-haired Robert Redford lookalike.

This was a "pretty good idea"???

Things happen when you wear Eleganza, alright. Like people pointing and laughing at you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

I am WAY behind on blog posts due to being buried with work, but I'm hoping to get back on track by this weekend. In the meantime, I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy (and safe) St. Patty's Day. Enjoy this vintage Lucky Charms cereal commercial, produced by Bill Melendez, who went on to co-create the Peanuts TV specials. I always thought Lucky Charms were one of the nastiest tasting cereals ever created.

Friday, March 05, 2010

My Baby Just Wrote Me A Letterhead

Yes, today's post is about vintage letterheads - but not just any old stationery letterhead. Some of these come from famous personalities and when you think about it, when's the last time you actually used a piece of letterhead? In today's high tech world of texting and emailing, letterhead is quickly becoming a relic. That makes these examples - that I found over at a neat site called Letterheady.com - so fascinating to me. Some of these are just plain high art.

The Rolling Stones' stationery from 1969 is surprisingly bland:

By far, my favorite. Just one word and image immediately identifies it.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Retro Weirdness Video of the Day

And not just any ol' retro weirdness, but retro foreign weirdness - even better. As a rule I generally don't like just posting YouTube videos and telling my readers "Here - WATCH this" but in this case, I really do want to you to watch this clip - it is SO worth it. It is guaranteed to make you cry - with laughter.

The singer's name is Edward Hill Caramelldansen and very little can be found about him - only that he's a Russian vocalist. But apparently he is also a VERY happy fellow, as this stunning performance can attest to, or perhaps he forgot the lyrics and simply decided to laugh his way through the song. Or maybe he just escaped from the looney bin - you be the judge.

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