Maidenform Ads: Inside the Madness
July 17, 2011 27 Comments
I’m speechless at your news of this Hail to the V handpuppet campaign. Handpuppets! It got me thinking about the marketing campaigns of yore; specifically, the Maidenform ads of the 50s and 60s, which are a strange, wonderful amalgam of glamorous surrealism and post-brainstorm despair.
Here are a few to start us off:
“I, suh. Gar?”
(was approximately my reaction).
So far, wild awesome dreams that double as euphemism. Knockers that box! Charioteers that arouse! Pink elephants that… well.
Then there’s this:
We can be Tarzan and swingers. Yes. Yes indeed.
Then there is this, which is what happens when a euphemism goes into overdrive and makes the leap from fantasy to vaguely suicidal.
Okay, but maybe it’s about risk-taking in general! Like this!
YES! goes this ad campaign. SEXY MATADOR BRIDAL BULL-WRANGLER! Hints of bestiality! Bra-armor! GO!
That might seem hard to top. Don’t worry:
But then the Don Drapers behind this whole thing start to slow down. The ads get a little more … prosaic:
If you’re getting depressed, don’t! You could, um, dream of being creative!
Or of playing Cleopatra! (We’ve downgraded from actually “being” her as we barge down the Nile.):
How about … no. We already used up our elephant. But maybe another circus reference. I know!
Height! Height is exciting. Where else can we use it? A bridge? No, that takes us back to suicide… How about … no. Or? Um … a construction site?
A lift! Get it? Travel. Travel is good. Let’s run with that. Instead of adventure, let’s go with scary but glamorous travel!
Or just, you know, travel!
Exhausted, bankrupt of ideas concerning what one might do with a bra that will thrill and inspire, the ad execs hit on an amazingly appealing concept:
(Images via the Smithsonian)