Fun Vintage Commericals
By now, you should know that I'm a big fan of 50's illustration and animation design. Not only do I love children's book illustrations from that decade, but also love the artwork done in ads and commercials, especially the animated ones. A couple of years ago I was assigned to direct a spot for the Boomerang network, where we were recreating the look and feel of old commercials but with Hanna-Barbera characters put into them. We even were allowed to redesign the classic HB characters to fit the style, which is practically unheard of when it comes to network icons. I chose the 1950's, of course (with Quick Draw McGraw), and I went on a mad hunt for any and all animated commercials from that era. We had a tape at Primal with a great collection of vintage kids-related commercials, and for resource I sat down and grabbed as many frame grabs as I could from the tape. I couldn't stop, I tell ya. I got so into it, I literally had to pry myself away from the monitor at the end of the day.
Out of my extensive research, there were a couple of spots I really enjoyed that had a fun look and great styling to them. I've put some of my favorite frame grabs from these spots into a new Flickr set titled, Fun Vintage Commercials. Here are a few highlights:
I Want My Maypo became one of the most popular commercials of that time, all thanks to the infamous tagline belted out by the "Maypo kid," shown here. It aired in 1956, with John & Faith Hubley doing the production, and Emery Hawkins, a former Warner Bros. animator, doing the animation (you can read more about Emery HERE). I love the design of the kid -- you can see why I chose him to be the icon for The Retro Kid, the Flickr group I started. Another bit of trivia, this spot is briefly seen in Brad Bird's THE IRON GIANT, when the Giant's hand is watching TV.
Pepsodent's The Yellow Went was one of the earliest TV spots that was aimed at marketing to a growing teenage market. The zippy animation and editing help this 60 second spot seem like it is only half that long. And guess what? The animation production was done by Tex Avery. Oh, and the jingle was pretty much a big deal too, with the "You'll wonder where the 'yellow' went, When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!" running around in the heads of many in 1956, when it first aired. I have to say that Suzi, the girl in the spot, has one of the swingingest walks ever recorded on film. Check out the other frames I grabbed from the spot, and you'll see that teenage boys will do anything to get the attention of a cute girl.
I don't know the title to this spot, but The Cheerios Kid was introduced in 1953, along with his female pal, Sue, to promote the energetic possibilites of eating a bunch of little o's. This particular spot aired in 1955, with the character and background design done by TOOT designer, Tom Oreb. I love the way the mountains and how the waterfall were depicted, with everything very stylized and very angular. Fun animation, too.
Check out the set to see more images from these wonderful TV commercials. (And by the way, I plan on updating this set periodically, so be sure to check back often.)