A couple of weeks ago I posted a vintage ad referring to Bolsheviks and an interesting discussion ensued about the difficulty of knowing how seriously people would have taken ads at the time they were made and whether the ad would have been seen as a parody at the time. We have a tendency to see ourselves as particularly witty, sophisticated consumers of media and to think people in the past were more straight-forward, credulous, and took things at face value (I’ve certainly been guilty of it), as though sarcasm and parody are recent inventions.
I thought of that when I saw the video Michael M. sent in. It was made as an in-house joke by a producer of commercials in the 1960s and makes fun of cliches used in commercials at the time. It’s slightly NSFW–there are exposed breasts at about 4:10 in, as a reader pointed out.
It also, of course, pulls the curtain back on the advertising industry a bit. As Michael says,
Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.
We’ve all seen parodies of the old 50s and 60s style commercials, but I thought it very interesting (and telling) to see it parodied at the time of production, in knowing fashion by the very people who make them. These advertisers were well aware they were selling a fantasy.