1 year ago
Monday, July 25, 2011
The prompt this week, an ad for bicycles, got me to thinking about that wonderful part of French history known as the Belle Epoque…
The Beautiful Age, which lasted from about the 1870s to the beginning of World War I, 1914.
The Magpie prompt of the gal on the bike illustrates a fundamental difference between French ads of that day and ads in the U S. American advertising was designed to inform and persuade, as in the following. (Did you know they had portable typewriters in 1890?)
The American ad informs and perhaps even, just a bit, persuades. The French would have done it differently.
French women dressed appropriately for the time, which means the clothing they wore covered just about everything. But in the advertising, things were different. French ads of that day were made to seduce -- to attract, entice. Some of ‘em were pretty wild. Check out the following, an ad for gas. It’s an ad for gas!!!!!!!
Presumably if you bought this brand of gas for your home a magnificent young woman would come and dance about in the nude in your living-room.
Probably never happened. :-)
Whenever possible, it’s obvious that there would be an attempt to suggest the national pastime, l’amour. Above, a French beer ad from that era.
At the least, the ad should be suggestive. As in this ad for absinthe – you know, the stuff that makes the heart grow fonder. :-)
As one who labored in the advertising agency world for some years, I find this difference between American and French advertising of the Belle Epoque interesting.
Because, truth is, those same differences still exist. In our ads, we’re still trying to inform and persuade; the French ads are still trying to seduce.