an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Posts Tagged ‘catalog’

Spy Watch: Secretly Gather Evidence

Posted by Rosepixie on April 20, 2010

I recently went on an airplane trip, which gave me the opportunity to check out a SkyMall catalog.  It was full of fascinating advertisements for strange products.  Apparently spies regularly shop SkyMall, since they had many “spy gadgets”, but one of the most interesting such ads was for this spy watch.

The text reads:

The ultimate spy gadget: the new digital video spy camera watch!

This stylish watch has a secret… it contains a hidden color camcorder – ideal as both a spy camera and a hidden camera.  It is small enough to wear anywhere!  Wherever you go with your mini camcorder on your wrist you’ll know for sure that you won’t miss anything!  Use it unnoticed for personal security or evidence gathering.  No one will know.  With built-in 2GB flash memory and rechargeable lithium battery, it lets you record both video and voice.  This is one of the most useful spy gadgets we have ever tried.  The built-in DVR makes this truly portable and spy worthy.

So why did this ad particularly catch my attention?  The part about gathering evidence.  See, nothing you record on a secret camera in a watch is going to be admissible evidence in a court for anything.  There are very strict rules about how evidence can be obtained and “I recorded it secretly on my spy watch” isn’t going to cut it for the same reasons taped phone conversations don’t.  So how can they be claiming that their watch will help you gather evidence?

They can claim it because you don’t need to have gathered evidence in any legitimate way as long as they aren’t required for a court case.  So if you just want to know if the babysitter is drinking beer after the kids go to bed or if your wife is lying about meeting her old high school boyfriend for lunch but don’t need to press charges if they are doing those things, you can “spy” on them using questionable methods all you want.  They can complain that you violated their privacy, but that’s a separate issue.

So this is a watch explicitly advertising itself as a tool for making unauthorized recordings (there are laws about recording or videotaping people without their knowledge – it’s a tort or civil wrong and pretty heavily frowned upon and can get you sued for invasion of privacy).  It’s one thing to say you’re selling a “spy” device, but I find it somewhat more problematic when the advertisements actually encourage potentially illegal activities.  I don’t have a big problem with small cameras existing, since they have some real uses.  But I do have a problem with advertisements encouraging illegal activities, even if the companies selling the products know that is a likely use of what they sell.  It’s reprehensible and irresponsible (and I would even argue that it could get the company sued as well, since their misrepresentation of the activity could lead to it happening when it otherwise might not, depending on how the judge felt like seeing it).


Posted in Electronics | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Vintage Friday: Spring Curtains

Posted by Rosepixie on March 5, 2010

This is an ad for new curtains and a matching bedspread from a 1934 catalog.

These curtains certainly do feel like spring with all the flowers and pastel colors.  I’m not sure how widely appealing they are, though.  And the bedspread is more what I would think of for a child’s room now than for an adults, but this ad does not seem to be suggesting that it’s intended for a child’s room at all (in fact, the size of the bed would suggest that it’s intended for a couple’s room).

But the theming is great and they’ve certainly tapped into the idea of wanting to spruce everything up and make everything new for spring.  “Refreshing as the new season!”, “a gay spread… and drapes to match”, and “It’s Springtime… new curtain time!”  They are great phrases to get shoppers excited about the idea of fresh, happy new things for a fresh, beautiful new season.

While I don’t think I’d buy any of these curtains, I think the ad is great.  It’s well laid out and the text works perfectly to convey the excitement of buying new things.  This was also one of the few pages in color in the catalog, which means even more attention was drawn to these curtains!  I wonder how well they actually sold?

Posted in Home, Vintage | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Vintage Friday: Menstruation Necessities from the 1930s

Posted by Rosepixie on December 18, 2009

This is a set of ads from a catalog from 1934 for sanitary pads and belts used by women when they were menstruating.

I thought that this was particularly interesting because you can see exactly how the belts worked.  I’ve heard many discussions wondering what women did while they were having their periods before they had panties to stick pads to and before other options (like tampons and diva cups) were invented, so I thought that this was worth posting.  So the next question, after we know how pads worked, is: what happened if they leaked?  Well, I have an answer to that one too!

These are two different styles of rayon and rubber “bloomers” designed to prevent any leaks from getting on your clothes and embarrassing you!  I think this was a great solution, especially since washing clothes was sometimes much harder back then.  I also thought it was pretty funny how loosely fit the bloomers are, though.  It makes a lot of sense that they would design them this way to appeal to women of the time, but I doubt many modern women would be comfortable wearing panties that fit that way!

So there is the answer to what women did about their periods before modern technology (at least, what they did in 1934 America, I’m sure different solutions existed in different places and different times).

Posted in Health and Science, Vintage | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Vintage Friday: Boy Socks

Posted by Rosepixie on December 11, 2009

This is an ad for socks for boys from 1934.

The text reads:

Boys anklets and golf hose

With regular tops – With garter tops

Swell patterns… boys!

Good quality cotton

I love this ad.  The socks are actually quite attractive, but I can’t see any boy wearing them today (at least not without risking getting beaten up).  These were apparently quite chic at the time, though.  The tall socks look cute with their puffy short pants and the short ones are actually kind of attractive in their own way.  Much more interesting than white tube socks, anyway.  I guess that’s really it – they’re more interesting than 95% of boy socks sold today.

And I like how the ad is colorful and speaks both to the boys themselves and to the parents who will actually be buying the items.  This was good marketing.  It’s telling the kids the socks are cool and the parents that they are well made and priced reasonably, rather than only focusing on one of them.

Posted in Fashion, Vintage | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Vintage Friday: Nainsook

Posted by Rosepixie on November 27, 2009

This is another ad from 1934.  This time it’s for men’s underwear (we’ve had enough women’s, I thought it was the men’s turn).

This ad is from the same catalog as the corset ads that I’ve posted before, but the tone is so different!  Those are all about how the corsets feel and how they will make your life better, this is all about how the nainsooks are “government standard” and strong!  I love the little illustration of the two men trying to tear the nainsook apart!

This ad made me laugh, but I’m also quite certain that it worked.  It hits all the right notes for the time.  Now I think you’d have a hard time selling something called a “nainsook” to men in America no matter what strategy you went with.

Posted in Fashion, Vintage | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Vintage Friday: Perfectred Shoes

Posted by Rosepixie on October 16, 2009

This is an ad for children’s shoes from a 1934 catalog by National (a mail-order company).

Shoes 3

The text reads:


Designed on nature’s own lines…


Don’t take chances.  Buy only shoes that will let tiny feet to grow properly…

Buy “Prefectreds”

The Best is none too good for your children.

The shoes are pretty cute and I like the decorative border with cute kids, but I have to wonder what magic design it is that makes these shoes “let tiny feet grow properly” while other shoes do not, and what horrible thing will happen if you wear something else!  I also think it’s interesting how these shoes almost look like they could go on either feet!  That’s generally not a good thing in shoes.  It also might just be the artist rendering that makes them appear that way, though.

Posted in Fashion, Vintage | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Vintage Friday: Modern Corsetry

Posted by Rosepixie on September 25, 2009

This is an ad for corsets from a 1934 catalog by National (a mail-order company).

Corsets 1

(click on the image for full size)

The text reads:

Silhouettes are made… not born

That is the Marvel of Modern Corsetry!

You will have lovely curves youthful bust If You Wear This Foundation!

Gently Molds the Figure to a Sleek… Graceful Smoothness  $1.98

Fits figures with hips 3 to 6 inches larger than bust.

Whether you’re just a “wisp of a thing” or need rigid control, this garment is an excellent foundation for the 1934 fashions.  Concealed boning over the diaphragm gives you a nice flat “tummy”; elastic inserts at the sides mold your hips and thighs… and a special insert at the bottom takes up the strain when you bend.  Rayon-figured Cotton Poplin with Rayon-and-cotton Jersey bust section.  Wonderful for only $1.98

Tearose or Pink.  Sizes: 32 to 44 bust.  Shpg. wt. 1 lb. 2 oz. $1.98

Skinlike Lastex Foundation

You never felt such freedom

You’ll look pounds slimmer

So comfortable you’ll never know it’s on!  $1.98

Not even the tiniest bulge will show after you have put it on!

Fits figures with hips 3 to 6 inches larger than bust.

“Skinlike” takes every little wayward bulge and puts it firmly in place.  “Skinlike” moulds to your figure into a smooth, unbroken line, straight hips, small waist – and mind you, there’s not a bone in it.  Two-way stretch Lastex right to the bust-line “does the trick”, and above that it’s softest mesh and definitely shaped to give you bosom that new uplift look.  For that slim, supple, youthful look, wear “Skinlike.”

Colors: Tearose or Pink.  Sizes: 30 to 38 bust.  Shipping weight, 10 oz.  $1.98




Won’t bulge

Won’t ride up

Lastex foundation

The Smart 1934 Contour… from the uplifted bust to the flowing back line… $1.98

Fits figures with 3 to 6 inches larger than bust.

Rayon-Brocaded Poplin front with the new pointed bust.  Two-way stretch Lastex back to assure smooth hips and thighs and a nice flat seat.  It’s backless for evening frocks.  It’s boneless, yet it gives all the necessary support to the figure, and is absolutely guaranteed not to “ride up.”  Shoulder straps are elastic.

Tearose or Pink.  Sizes: 30 to 38 bust.  Shipping weight, 10 oz. $1.98

This ad just made me laugh with all of it’s assurances that the corsets are super comfortable, but also capable of totally reshaping your body and making you appear magically thinner!  I’m sorry, but corsets don’t work that way.  Not that they can’t be comfortable, because they totally can, but if it’s really a corset, you absolutely know that you’re wearing it.  Anyway, I thought it was interesting.  I have a few more corset ads (and a bunch of ads for other stuff) from the same year that I’ll post in later weeks that are also interesting for other reasons.

Posted in Fashion, Vintage | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »