Friday, July 19, 2013

Advertising Window on Future

Shirley Polykoff was Senior Vice President, Creative Director, at Foote Cone & Belding when she retired in 1973, after 18 years of making advertising history. She was one of the most highly productive copywriters ever to work in advertising.

Polykoff founded her own advertising agency after retiring from FC&B. She received hundreds of creative awards including the top awards at the annual Venice and Cannes Festivals.

Here is a 1957 Clairol commercial written by Polykoff.

video

To understand her work, I advise you to think about the other-directed and inner-directed qualities of her advertising ideas. The copy in this commercial is about how others perceive the woman, yet the woman controls her own image, and the audience wants to know her secret.

The year 1957 is the moment where the women's movement is about emerge in America and this cleverly seditious commercial shows the woman in control. How does she do this? The audience wants to know.


Betty Friedan published the Feminine Mystique in 1963. She had conducted a survey of her former Smith College classmates in 1957. She discovered discontent, and this led her to her book.

Polykoff’s creative work in the 1950s shows how the content of advertising signals the underlying themes in the cultural conversation. For the observant, advertising is a window on the future.

   Copyright © 2013 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

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