a trip for Advertising & Marketing people

jwt push or pull

(this is about the Duke antiquities library in Durham NC)

Okay. If you are in a marketing department or an ad agency or anything to do with the art and science of communication and consumer behavior and you can only afford to send your “brightest minds” on one getaway field trip over a two year span … this is your trip investment. I guarantee it will be the best investment you will ever make.

Visit the Duke Antiquities Library for their Advertising archives.

Duke antiquities library has the largest archive of advertising – non video – materials in the world.

No kidding. A university in North Carolina with the most advertising stuff.

It could also be called the graveyard of materials for the dead agencies. But it also has historical files from existing agencies (JWT being the largest contributor).

I am an advertising history lover. And I will always bleed Thompson blue (JWT’s old color … I think they are paprika, melon and periwinkle now … or something ..) and handling some of the ancient but well crafted simple advertisements and presentations and handbooks was awe inspiring in considering the art & science of communication. In addition you can see how advertising and communications impacted human behavior, and buying behavior, through education of new ideas and new ways of doing things. We often forget the positive role advertising has had on every day life and a trip here will quickly remind you of many of the positive things and thoughts communicated.

A visit to this place can show you how long we have been talking about the same things (make sure you see the 1950s ad talking about integrating the message throughout all aspects).  There are agency house ads from the 1920’s talking about “differentiation,” “how much money to spend on marketing,” and even “advertising can only get you an invitation the sale has to be done by the person.” Oh. They also talk about packaging as a medium (1920’s), effective impressions versus soft branding (1950’s) and “saying one thing well in communication (1920’s). They just don’t use all the fancy words we use nowadays. Great stuff.

It can also be a place to help you think and not just revisit “old things”. Great work and thinking begets new great thinking and ideas. I cannot think of a better location for “thought fodder”.

A sample of what you can see is already in the Duke Libraries’ Digital Collections:

–          Ad*Access (1911 to 1955)
Presents images and information on over 7,000 advertisements for products in the following categories:

    • Beauty & Hygiene
    • Radio
    • Television
    • Transportation
    • World War II

You can search terms for ethnic groups, as well as other descriptors (women, children, etc.).

–          adViews (1950s to 1980s)
Historic commercials for a wide range of products. This resource is organized by company name, and continues to have additions of new commercials.

–          Emergence of Advertising in America (1850s to 1920s)

Provides access to over 11,000 images of advertisements and early advertising publications. Stereotypes of ethnicity and gender roles are found in many of the ads.

I won’t go into all the detail on all the material they have but the agencies alone are a ‘who’s who’:

–          JWT archives, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Wells Rich Greene, Warwick Baker & O’Neill, and Bates Worldwide.

And they have non agency material from outdoor advertising association and person collections and personal papers and … well  … the list is too long to type.probably the first description of a virtual creative network - done in 1920's

The staff is awesome. Accommodating (they can set up any type of exhibit you want) to all and any requests. They can talk extensively about everything they have. They can dig up things you never knew existed (and you would be delighted they did uncover it).

And the location ain’t bad either. You are not only on a great campus in a neat area but the archives themselves is like stepping back into time in an old library with shelves of ancient books and manuscripts.

If you love history and you love communication you will love this visit.

I, personally, was like a kid in a candy store.

It’s a trip you have to make at least once in your lifetime if you are in the communications business.

Written by Bruce