Monday, July 25, 2011

Magpie 75


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.

30 comments:

Stafford Ray said...

The French have never been afraid of showing their breasts, the women I mean, and you Berowne are never afraid of showing your wit... This evoked a smile: "absinthe – you know, the stuff that makes the heart grow fonder. :-)".

Morning said...

thoughtful information on bicycles, cheers.

Friko said...

I like the 'probably' in probably never happened.
A naked damsel frolicking about your house the minute you'd bought the gas?

Leslie: said...

I don't know if I see l'amour in the eyes of the last homme avec la femme. I see leering instead. Alors, ce sont les francais!

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Haha! A wonderfully fun post.

susan sonnen said...

Interesting comparison between American and French advertising. I much prefer the latter. :D

phil said...

Like watching an informative slide-show, minus the snoring and heavy eye lids.

Wonderful! :)

Kay L. Davies said...

I agree with Leslie, that man is leering. But he's ever so funny while he's doing it.
Great comparison between French and American advertising, Berowne, and so true. I spent my working life in the newspaper and printing industry, so I know whereof you speak.

—Kay, Alberta, Canada

ds said...

Truly a fascinating comparison, Berowne. But that lech in the absinthe ("makes the heart grow fonder"--HA) ad is creepy...

Berowne said...

What a fine way to start a Tuesday, with comments from ds, Kay L D, phil, susan s, Madeleine B K, Leslie, Friko, Morning and Stafford R. Mucho thanks.

Lyn said...

I found this to be very informative..I'll buy it! Ads for beauty products do seduce..unfortunately only to abandon us in the end..

The ads you show are so full of charm! Lovely..

Tess Kincaid said...

Oo la la...love the Stella ad. Nice post, Mr. B.

Berowne said...

Tess Kincaid.: "Nice post, Mr. B."
Nice prompt, Ms. K.

Tumblewords: said...

Vive la difference! :)

Other Mary said...

Hahaha - so no wonder the French started getting us to buy their bottles of water! So what were the Brits doing at that time? Just wondering....
Interesting post Berowne.

signed...bkm said...

Nice French history and examples....they are beautiful ....our advertising today is so over the top that one can not even figure out what they are selling sometimes.....Great post...bkm

jabblog said...

Each approach has its charms. Most interesting.

Jo Bryant said...

Great post - i learnt so much :)

Lena said...

Well, now I know a little more about La Belle Epoque - other than they were a French, one hit wonder band, back in the late 70's (Black Is Black)......!!

As usual, you set out another fine piece from the prompt!

Berowne said...

I certainly want to thank TumbleW., Other Mary, bkm, jabblog, Jo B. and Lena for your encouraging comments...

PattyF said...

Wonderful take on the prompt, Berowne! I never noticed the differences -- thanks for adding to my cultural awareness!

lightverse said...

Thanks so much for highlighting one of my favorite periods in art. The poster art of the day was fascinating - and it did indeed seduce. Very cool post. ☼

Bee's Blog said...

Your posts are always fascinating as it your wit. The French ads are far more alluring than the boring American ones.

Fetamy John said...

Tremendous, magnificent, marvelous, extraordinary, amazing are the word this post deserve. This made me think that verity can be created from scratch.
Regards: Electric Fires

dvd shrink download said...

Amazing take on the fast, Berowne! I never found the distinctions -- thanks for including to my social awareness!

Jimmy said...

Amazing and wonderful. I love this blog post and i am happy that i have not wasted my time during my stay on this page.
Propranolol Side Effects

wedding castles said...

Beautiful pictures. very very nice. I like it and i have bookmarked this blog. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. I love this one.

Business gifts said...

Interesting comparison between American and French advertising. I much prefer the latter.

John said...

I discovered this to be very useful..I'll buy it! Ads for cosmetics do attract..unfortunately only to depart us in the end..
Photo mugs

John said...

Exciting assessment between National and France marketing. I much desire the latter. :D
cheap Promotional bags

 
Blog designed by Blogger Boutique using Christy Skagg's "A Little Bit of That" kit.