Handbuilt by Robots – Collett Dickenson Pearce for Fiat Strada (1979)

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“A visual feast. For the audience in 1979 this was as close to sci-fi as you could get. It was like watching two minutes of the Star Wars movie – no one had seen anything like it before. The ad also makes it seem like lots of care has gone into building the cars.”

One evening in 1979, television viewers who hadn’t gone to the loo in the middle of News at Ten saw something very unusual, a commercial break completely taken up by one ad. It was a two-minute triumph showing a car being put together in a factory, and not a dirty blue overall in sight. The original idea for an ad to promote the new italian car was to use smoke coming out of the Vatican as a sign that a new car had been born. But at the drawing board, writer Paul Weiland remembered an item he had seen on the tv show Tomorrow’s World about the Fiat factory in Italy where cars were put together by robots. He tracked the footage down and decided it could form the basis of the new Fiat campaign. “In Europe the car was called the Ritmo, so I thought… what kind of music can I put with this?” recalls Weiland. “My knowledge of classical music was zilch but I remembered something called Figaro and thought: Figaro sounds like Ritmo! I put this music to it and everyone thought it was great…” If that part was easy, the filming of the commercial turned out to be a nightmare.

Ironically, when the production team led by the director Hugh Hudson arrived at the Fiat factory in Turin to shoot the film they had to run a gauntlet of pickets and burning tyres lit by workers protesting about robots taking their jobs. “When we arrived there, there was a strike, and we got locked in to the factory” recalls director Hugh Hudson. “We were locked in nobody operating, just someone to press the button. All the workers were out but we were in making the film…” “The commercial was quite expensive at that time, around 300.000 pounds” add Paul Weiland, “but they probably lost about seven million in production, because every two seconds we were having to stop the machines!”

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The finished ad had no voice over and ended on a simple caption “Handbuilt by Robots”. Many ad makers believe its intelligent combination of music and camerawork make it one of the best TV commercials ever shown in UK.

Advertising Agency: Collett Dickenson Pearce
Copywriter: Paul Weiland
Art Director: Dave Horry
Director: Hugh Hudson
Production company: Hudson Films

 

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Haddon Sundblom for Coca-Cola – The Man Who Painted Christmas

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Though he was not the first artist to create an image of Santa Claus for Coca-Cola advertising, Haddon Sundblom’s version became the standard for other Santa renditions and is the most-enduring and widespread depiction of the holiday icon to this day. Coca-Cola’s Santa artworks would change the world’s perception of the North Pole’s most-famous resident forever and would be adopted by people around the world as the popular image of Santa.

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In the 1920s, The Coca-Cola Company began to promote soft drink consumption for the winter holidays in U.S. magazines. The first Santa ads for Coke used a strict-looking Claus. In 1930, a Coca-Cola advertised with a painting by Fred Mizen, showing a department store Santa impersonator drinking a bottle of Coke amid a crowd of shoppers and their children.
Not long after, a magical transformation took place. Archie Lee, then the agency advertising executive for The Coca-Cola Company, wanted the next campaign to show a wholesome Santa as both realistic and symbolic. In 1931, the Company commissioned Haddon Sundblom, a Michigan-born illustrator and already a creative giant in the industry, to develop advertising images using Santa Claus. Sundblom envisioned this merry gentleman as an opposite of the meager look of department store Santa imitators from early 20th century America.

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Sundblom turned to Clement Moore’s classic poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (better known as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”) for inspiration:

His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples: how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow

The ode’s description of the jolly old elf inspired Sundblom to create an image of Santa that was friendly, warm and human, a big change from the sometimes-harsh portrayals of Santa up to that time. He painted a perfectly lovable patron saint of the season, with a white beard flowing over a long red coat generously outlined with fur, an enormous brass buckle fastening a broad leather belt, and large, floppy boots.

Sundblom’s Santa was very different from the other Santa artworks: he radiated warmth, reminded people of their favorite grandfather, a friendly man who lived life to the fullest, loved children, enjoyed a little honest mischief, and feasted on snacks left out for him each Christmas Eve . Coca-Cola’s Christmas campaign featuring this captivating Santa ran year after year.

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As distribution of Coca-Cola and its ads spread farther around the world, Sundblom’s Santa Claus became more memorable each season, in more and more countries. The character became so likable, The Coca-Cola Company and Haddon Sundblom struck a partnership that would last for decades. Over a span of 33 years, Haddon Sundblom painted imaginative versions of the “Coca-Cola Santa Claus” for for Coke advertising, retail displays and posters.

Sundblom initially modeled Santa’s smiling face after the cheerful looks of a friend, retired salesman Lou Prentiss. “He embodied all the features and spirit of Santa Claus,” Sundblom said. “The wrinkles in his face were happy wrinkles.” After Prentiss passed away, the Swedish-American Sundblom used his own face as the ongoing reference for painting the now-enduring, modern image of Santa Claus.

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In 1951, Sundblom captured the Coca-Cola Santa “making his list and checking it twice.” However, the ads did not acknowledge that bad children existed and showed pages of good boys and girls only. Mischievous and magical, the Coca-Cola Santa was not above raiding the refrigerator during his annual rounds, stealing a playful moment with excited children and pets, or pausing to enjoy a Coca-Cola during stops on his one-night, worldwide trek. When air adventures became popular, Santa also could be caught playing with a toy helicopter around the tree.

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Haddon Sundblom passed away in 1976, but The Coca-Cola Company continues to use a variety of his timeless depictions of Saint Nicholas in holiday advertising, packaging and other promotional activities. The classic Coca-Cola Santa images created by Sundblom are as ubiquitous today as the character they represent and have become universally accepted as the personification of the patron saint of both children and Christmas.

As Joanna Berry, Lecturer in Marketing at Newcastle University Business School, explains: “Whilst Sundblom didn’t invent Santa as the jolly, white haired rotund old man we all now expect, he certainly did more than anyone to imprint that image onto our minds in relation to Coca-Cola in one of the most enduring brand images ever to have been created.”

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A tribute to Haddon Sundblom from “Coke Side of Life” Campaign

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The Top 15 Most Dangerous, Offensive, Racist, False and Sexist Vintage Ads

We are living in a world created by marketers. Advertising is a powerful force shaping attitudes and behavior since the beginning of the 20th century when it got into radio, and then into television in the late 1940s.

With great power comes great responsibility – but try telling it to someone working in advertising field in the early 20th Century. Even today, advertising is far away from being in conformity with high moral standards, but after looking back to some offensive, racist and sexist vintage ads – today’s ads are as good as gold.

1 – Cigarettes: Just What the Doctor Ordered…

Camel’s campaign featuring doctor endorsements is probably the most familiar instance of false advertising, seen here in an ad from 1948. Yet almost every cigarette company twisted science to support its products, including Chesterfield’s 1953 ads, which rephrased expert findings to show that smoking had “no adverse effect”.

2 – DDT is good for me!


This ad for “Killing Salt Chemicals” from 1947 shows a range of dangerous applications for now-illegal DDT, from agricultural sprays to household pesticides. Particularly disturbing is the image of a mother and infant, above the caption stating that DDT “helps make healthier, more comfortable homes.”

3 – FAIRY SOAP: “Why doesn’t your mamma wash you with Fairy Soap?”

4 – VI-REX: Shock your way to physical perfection

In 1922, “Violet Rays” were said to cure pretty much anything that ailed you.This Vi-Rex device plugged into a light socket so users could give themselves home shock-treatments, which would supposedly make you “vital, compelling, and magnetic.” The last batch of Violet Ray products was seized in 1951.

5 – LOVE COSMETICS: Innocence is sexier than you think.

6 – TIPALET: C’mon, blow in her face!

7 – SEVEN-UP is for babies

Not only were sugary soft-drinks great for adults, but sodas like 7-Up used to help babies grow up strong and fit, or so these ads from 1955 and 1953 would have you believe. And what about  7-Up in milk?

8 – Suffocating babies in Cellophane!

A bunch of infants tied up in plastic is pretty frightening to modern viewers, but at the time, these ads were just plain cute. When these Du Pont Cellophane ads came out in 1954, things like plastic grocery bags weren’t a ubiquitous part of American culture. Only after plastic bags became widespread during the 1970s did their strangulating qualities become frighteningly clear.

9 – A girl around the house…

10 – GILLETTE: Begin early.

11 – Fun with the Lead Family…

The most heartbreaking part of this 1923 brochure is its emphasis on kids having fun with the whole “Lead Family” of products, whose presence in everything from their nursery walls to their windup toys made young children particularly susceptible to its dangers. Combined with lead paint’s seductively sweet flavor, putting kids in environments literally covered with the stuff was a recipe for disaster.

In fact, the effects of lead poisoning (brain damage, seizures, hypertension, etc.) were known long before the Consumer Product Safety Commission finally banned them in 1977; the industry had simply refused to acknowledge them.

12 – Feminine Hygiene: the original home wrecker.

Long before Lysol was reinvented as the caustic household cleaner we know today, the same substance was basically promoted for use as a feminine hygiene product. These Lysol ads from 1948 tout the internal use of poisonous Lysol as a marriage saver. To sum up the message: if you weren’t so dirty down there, he would love you more.

13 – Dieting? Try sugar!

In a time before the current widespread obesity epidemic, sugar companies wanted shoppers to believe that a sweet treat would somehow inspire you to eat less. These ads from 1969 coach readers to “have a soft drink before your main meal” or “snack on some candy an hour before lunch.” Their strange logic isn’t even backed by a company name, though the campaign does include a helpful mailing address for “Sugar Information.”

14 – Cocaine: instantaneous cure

15 – We are going to use Chlorinol…