The Golden Era Of Advertising: Lessons We Can Still Learn

How would the cigarette smoking, suit wearing, scotch swilling Madison Avenue executives of the 1960’s react if they were here to see the landscape of advertising and marketing today? Before they had any time to comment, they’d definitely have to switch the scotch for craft beer, the lucky strikes for vape pens, and the suits for skinny jeans. The decade that personified these advertising icons was called the “Golden Era” of advertising for a reason - it was a decade marked by many changes, including the dominance of the creative executive, and the formation of advertising conglomerates. Alternative lifestyles and dynamic sub-cultures emerged, human sexuality was embraced, civil and women’s rights took the spotlight; and thus, the age of creative advertising was born. The cultural revolution of this decade greatly influenced the way in which advertisements were conceptualised and created, and marked a renaissance of inspiration. Fifty years later, many of these themes still resonate - and even have things to teach us about modern day marketing.  Emotive Marketing Pays The Bill No holds barred: the 1960’s was a decade that became more adventurous than the years that preceded it. Money was poured into image based advertising and brands, and the return on creative investment was palpable. Brands were encouraged not just sell “things”, but lifestyles and ideals, and the feelings and emotions that were attached to their products. In 1961, BBDO proved just that when they produced this televised campaign for Pepsi which was designed to win over their younger consumers.  Studies show that consumers rely on emotions, rather than information, to make brand decisions - and that emotional responses to ads are more influential on a person’s intent to buy than the content of an ad. Clever and successful marketers are tapped into this knowledge - which is why this strategy has remained intact since it’s infancy. Take, for example, this ad that Collaborative Marketing created for Grand Prix Mazda Aspley, which was created to encapsulate the feelings and emotions of visiting the dealership. 

Never Doubt The Intelligence Of Your Audience

David Ogilvy once famously said - “The consumer isn’t a moron, she’s your wife.” Ignoring that this is blatantly sexist by today’s standards, there’s a lot of truth to this statement; brands that value the intelligence of their customers will be rewarded with great customers. Consumers of the time did not falter in their ability to call out a lie - and have been consistent through the years in exercising their right to do so. For example,  the general public was questioning smoking “benefits” propagated by Tobacco companies long before the many health risks associated with smoking were lawfully made public knowledge.  In present day, it’s known and accepted that an audience always does their research - with the existence of the internet, wouldn’t you be stupid not to? Before buying a product, 81 percent of shoppers do research online. This means reading reviews, checking warranties, and skewering businesses for the best deals possible. It’s one of the reasons that brand loyalty is fast becoming a thing of the past. Multiple Channels, Multiple Opportunities  The transistor radio was invented in 1954 making radios more portable, the CRT TV was significantly improved in 1950 and newspaper readership was at an all time high in 1950. The ability to get access to the consumer was a multi-channel, cross-platform world unlike any ever before it.

The accessibility to entertainment, to news, to information was changing radically. Marketers were trying to figure out which medium was the most effective way of hitting their audiences.  Print was the biggest channel, but Radio and TV were slowly gaining steam, and with the invention of transistor radios, it was possible to have a radio in every room. Marketers were experimenting with the cutting edge technology of the time.  Take this world and change it to PC, Tablet, Phone. Add in TV, Print and Radio and you can see how we’re in a new golden age to get creative with how we approach marketing. The digital age of marketing is maybe 15 years old, only starting to build critical mass in the last 10 years or so.  We’re just now solving how to measure and understand the nature and use of multiple digital devices and how they interact with each other, how consumers use the devices and nuances of how to market across each device.  The multi-channel, multi-device world isn't a new challenge - it's not a new phenomenon - it's the replacement of an old challenge and the nature of people consuming content in a variety of ways. Learning how marketers of the past managed their channel marketing might help digital marketers how to better drive targeted messages. That golden era of advertising is almost as relevant today as it was back then. Reflecting upon the heyday of ad agencies and the time current trends and changes that occurred in advertising inspires a thought. At Collaborative Marketing, we think we are excited as we are about the future of digital marketing; but are also taking a moment to reflect on what has come before. If you need our help utilising multi-media channelled, 360 degree marketing, then look no further! Our boutique Fortitude Valley agency is a far cry from the agencies of Madison Avenue - but what we don’t have in 1960’s glamour, we make up for in knowledge. Reach out to us at for a tailored approach to your marketing. 





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