While we don’t often deal in absolutes, there are some things we are 100% certain about. The cover of a 1920s trade catalog with the title “This is Underwear Time” — complete with the illustration of a a man getting dressed while his dog looks on — is one of those times where we can unequivocally proclaim to have found a truly (possibly unintentionally) brilliant piece of marketing. [More]
When we imagine Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, we see an older man with a white beard and neatly pressed suit. But that’s not really how the foray into feeding the masses started for Harland Sanders. Instead, things began on a much smaller scale for the entrepreneur, who was in his 60s by the time he started letting others sell his chicken recipe. [More]
Summer blockbuster season is almost upon us. The months of kicking back in the full-blast air conditioning and watching digitally-created stuff blow up will begin in just a couple of weeks, and at this point, it’s an annual ritual. [More]
If you drive to Downey, CA, you can find the oldest existing McDonald’s eatery and the currently vacant building that housed the first Taco Bell. And the tie between the two famous fast food names goes deeper than that. It was in the parking lot of the very first McDonald’s that the man who would eventually create the Taco Bell empire dreamt of a fast food empire stretching from coast to coast. [More]
In The Time Before Pizza, or as I like to call it, America’s Dark Days, people didn’t have easy access to the delicious, doughy, cheese-and-tomato discs many of us love today. Those who did were mostly limited to the descendants of Italian immigrants, say wise pizza historians, until soldiers abroad in World War II discovered the mouth magic that is a good slice of pizza. [More]
Back in January, we reported that the Downey, CA, building where Taco Bell got its start more than 50 years ago is facing possible demolition. Taco Bell, which has long since moved on from that building, responded with a social media campaign to judge whether the structure was worth saving. But now it looks like the company is seriously considering the possibility of preserving the building where it all started, but in a different location. [More]
The late 19th century gave us the five-and-dime store, where everything cost five or ten cents. Those are the ancestors of what we think of as a “dollar store” today. What you might not know is that dollar stores have been around for more than 140 years. It’s just that back then, a dollar could buy you a lot more, so they were rather swanky. [More]
It’s funny how similar the labeling tactics used by hucksters of fake snake oil used after getting busted by new laws in 1907 are to some techniques used by food and product packagers today. [More]
During the President’s address to Wall Street bankers today in New York City, he reminded them that their predecessors had completely flipped out about a bill that passed through Congress way back in 1933. It was, in their view, sure to “not only rob them of their pride of profession but would reduce all U.S. banking to its lowest level.” What was this reform bill? [More]
Update: As several readers have pointed out, it’s a Coney Island publicity hoax, which probably explains why CNN yanked the clip. * People are calling it the caveman hot dog. Okay, nobody is calling it that. But one person interviewed by
CNN News12 Brooklyn said, “That’s unbelievable, finding hot dogs that are 140 years old. That’s crazy, to me it’s crazy.” Another person said, “These things are irreplaceable, they’re priceless. And it’s great that they found it, and that it will be here for generations to come and see and learn.” [More]
Cheer up! Sure, you may be unemployed. The bank may be close to foreclosing on your home. And other creditors are circling like vultures to make sure they get a piece of your hide before you declare bankruptcy or go underground. But at least you don’t have to deal with a complete collapse of all commerce, no infrastructure to speak of and the total loss of all skilled labor. Of course, as long as you weren’t covered in sh*t, you were probably doing OK. [More]
Historians and conservationists have united in Virginia against a common foe: Walmart, which wants to build a 38,000-square-foot Supercenter near near Wilderness Battlefield, a Civil War site and National Park. The groups filed a suit on Wednesday charging local officials with brushing aside concerns about the site when they approved Walmart’s plans in August.
Paul Smith, who lives in San Diego and has a credit score of 751, had his HSBC credit card limit lowered from $7,000 to $1,400 recently for mysterious reasons. He called HSBC to find out why.
Slate has posted a slideshow documenting ads since the 1970s, when corporations starting heavily targeting African-American consumers. Check it out.
Remember when you could buy barbiturates for the baby? Cover your house with asbestos? Or get heroin from the doctor? Okay, probably not, but thanks to the immortal beauty of advertising, you can take a trip back in time. Here’s our pick of some of the most ironic ads in American history.
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?