Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

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Christmas gets endorsed by celebrities
Written by Katharine Miller in Advertising

Christmas gets endorsed by celebrities

When snow covers the ground and the days get shorter, you know it’s time to celebrate the winter holidays and spread cheer and good will. Even celebrities can’t resist the action, lending their talent and likeness to all manners of Christmas merriment. Popular personalities of stage, screen and song deliver messages of joy in the form of holiday specials (dramatic retellings of Dicken’s A Christmas...

Mad Men and Lucky Strike celebrate a “toasted” Christmas

As we see more and more public spaces become smoke-free, it’s easy to forget that smoking wasn’t always considered hazardous. In the days when it was socially acceptable to smoke, cigarettes were advertised on television and endorsed by popular celebrities and cartoon characters. A carton of cigarettes was considered an appropriate gift for children to give their fathers. In the Mad Men universe, where smoking...

The Cocktail Nation Podcast

The Cocktail Nation

Mad Men and Pond’s Question Whether a Clean Face Leads to Matrimony

As of 1965, women’s liberation has not yet pervaded mainstream culture. In season four of Mad Men, we get a taste of what’s to come as women become more independent and empowered. Despite the increase in seemingly independent women, including budding feminist, copywriter Peggy Olsen, most of the ladies inhabiting fictional 1960s NYC are marriage-minded and family-oriented. When SCDP (Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce) lands the...

The Secret Life of Machines
Written by James Vaughan in Advertising

The Secret Life of Machines

Fellow fans of Ultra Swank are well aware that we are revelers in a cultural period of technology supreme. Be it Hi-Fi or Hydrogen Bomb if it had push buttons and chrome it was an object of desire! Few artists captured this ‘age of the machine’ better than Boris Artzybasheff (1899-1965). Immigrating from Russia to New York City in 1919, Artzybasheff’s career included over 200...

Future Forcaster Radebaugh
Written by James Vaughan in Advertising

Future Forcaster Radebaugh

“Closer Than We Think!” shouts the headline. It looks like a comic and probably ran in the funnies section of the Sunday Chicago Tribune and it’s affiliates. During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s artist Arthur Radebaugh forecast a soon to be techno-future of magical and fantastic innovation. As a regular feature in widespread newspaper syndication, his cartoon like “Closer Than We Think!” may have...

Classic Hand Drawn Car Ads from the US

Found a whole bunch of really nice vintage American car advertisements from the 1950s and 1960s in the Ultra Swank Flickr Group. Wish Detroit still would do classic hand drawn illustrations like this today for their cars. Which is your favorite American mid century car and why?...

Sexist Vintage Ads – Even a Woman Can Open It

Not that we Ultra Swanksters condones being sexist, it just sometimes amazes me what kind of stuff advertising agencies were able to pull off around mid-century suburban America. Here are some fine examples of sexist vintage ads of the times that takes a punch at women only being good for being secretaries, housewives and objects of beauty. Even though the ads would surely never pass...

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