Antique advertising and why it has become so prominent in our history
We all know that advertising is the best way to get a product or service out in the market so consumers can find what you are selling. Advertising has come a long way from decades past. Today we use all sorts of platforms to advertise: television, radio, social media and still, print form. At the turn of the century, the only way to advertise anything was in simple print form. When you visit antique shops in Southampton or around your neighborhood, take notice of the antique advertising you find. It was a whole other world back then!
In today’s world, there is a massive array of ways to advertise just about anything. Just turn on your computer and write a post on your Facebook wall and in minutes, you have advertising! However, before technology, it took a bit more to advertise. There was every print from ads in magazines to signage painted on the side of barns. It was the only way they had to communicate just about anything for a time.
So what is our fascination with antique advertising? We see these antique signs (and replicas) in restaurants like Applebee’s and Cracker Barrel and they are sprinkled all over antique shops so that you can purchase them for your home décor. Everyone wants to own this part of Americana. Why? Because, if you look at antique advertising the artwork and creativity were so intricate you just don’t see that in advertising today.
Companies would advertise their products and services using metal signs that were hand painted. Large billboards were constructed with hand-painted artwork and beautifully created neon signs were all the rage. People took the limited resources they had to create wonderful works of art, just to advertise! It makes the art of collecting antique advertising highly desirable today.
How we have changed as a nation! Back then, being plump and curvaceous (think Marilyn Monroe and her size 12 frame) was the norm and it was considered beautiful and sexy. Today, if you are larger than a size 2, some think you shouldn’t be modeling. Back then cigarettes were considered good for your health! Wow, what we didn’t know! It’s these types of advertising, however, that is the most sought after and therefore worth more.
The companies still standing today seek their advertising from the past for their archives and to show the world just how far they’ve come. Coca-Cola signage, for example, is probably the most famous advertising in the world and still is today. Its past advertising is still relevant today. In fact, many of it is being reused by the company to advertise the same great taste that the product had 100 years or more ago.
Antique advertising could very well be the biggest item collectors seek when they are looking for antique items. The attention to detail, the subject matter and the quality of work created all determine a piece’s worth. For some, the art of collecting antique advertising is to preserve our past history. For others, it is a constant reminder of how far we’ve come. If you are visiting antique stores in Southampton or your neighborhood, pay attention to the signage available. You just may find that unique piece that you cannot live without!