While perusing old advertising trade journals, I came across this ad for the New Yorker. You win if you can correctly answer what the message is here: New Yorker readers are under-exercised fat cats? That blackface was more common in hotels than we ever thought? That retail stores once secretly conspired with the New Yorker’s ad department to divulge customers’ sales histories?
I wish I could remember what year this was from in order to pinpoint exactly how anachronistic it was. I do know that the tagline “Sells the People Other People Copy” was used during the 1930s, predating MTV’s infamous “Buy this 24-Year-Old and Get All His Friends Absolutely Free” ad (below) by several decades.
Carrie McLaren & Jason Torchinsky are coeditors of Ad Nauseam: A Survivor’s Guide to American Consumer Culture. In previous lives, they worked together on the hopelessly obscure and now defunct Stay Free! magazine .