Mid-Century Monday: Mad for Ads

A couple years ago I went to visit a friend in Phoenix. I wasn't expecting much; I figured that it was mostly desert and suburban sprawl. But boy was I wrong. This place is quite possibly one of the best I've been to for antique malls and vintage resale. Maybe it's due to an aging retirement population selling their treasures (and more of the same population buying them up). Whatever the reason, I'm grateful, because we spent a good part of one day just driving around and rummaging through shelf after shelf of goodies.

At one mall there was a crate full of vintage Gourmet magazines from the '50s and '60s. We proceeded to comb them for the best covers, and I ended up with six. I didn't have a plan for them, I just knew I had to have them. They eventually landed in my "things to frame one day" box a few months after I brought them home.

Last week — while purging our newlywed home of things we clearly aren't going to use or need — I came across said box and sat down to look at all the ideas I've had that never came to fruition. When I pulled the magazines out, I started leafing through them with a new appreciation for the ads inside thanks to my "Mad Men" obsession.

They really are a reflection of the times; most of the ads are for alcohol, and the text is much longer than anything you see today. Pick up your favorite glossy at the newsstand tomorrow and you'll see ads full short tag lines looking to become the new buzz word. Back in the mid-60s (when these particular magazines were printed) the ads seemed to put more on the shoulders of the story the text told. Maybe it's because people took life a little slower back then and had longer attention spans...or maybe I'm just grumpy and disillusioned with today's advertising. But that's a blog post for another day. :)

I'll leave you with some of my favorite covers and ads a la 1960s Gourmet. They really are an inspiring, easy-to-do and inexpensive way to get some decoration on your walls, especially if you have a lot that are the same size. Hang them in one big group and you've a quite a conversation piece!

P.S. Congrats to the creators and cast of "Mad Men" on their well-deserved Emmy win! And kudos to Jon Hamm for doing that dance number in the opening act...so hilarious!

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