Like many parents in 1970, the gulf between Mad Men’s rebellious Sally Draper and her uptight and out of touch parents has grown as wide as the Grand Canyon, that great natural chasm that Sally might visit on her summer teen tour.
At the same time, the real Mad Men of Madison Avenue were working overtime to close that generation gap by producing ads that appeared “relevant,” distancing themselves from the cop-out generation that produced war, prejudice and greed.
If the free-thinking generation of anti establishment kids didn’t dig uptight Madison Avenue, then Madison Avenue had to show them they could get down and “tell it like it is.”
By 1970 Madison Avenue went on a teen tour of its own to attract the youth market.
By donning their colorful silk neckerchiefs and groovy bell bottoms the creative ad men assured their clients that their agency was tapping into the cultural zeitgeist, keeping it real by shifting their focus to the groovy, individualistic now generation of consumers.
At times it seemed the manufacturers were having their own identity crisis.
Trying desperately to bridge the generation gap, these middle-aged men sporting mutton chops and Fu-Manchu mustaches in order to appear hip, shamelessly sought out the youth market with sometimes laughable results as they attempting to make their establishment products hip to the very anti establishment, anti materialistic teenagers committed to doing their own thing.
Marketing in the Age of Aquarius provided some astronomical profits in return.
Where better to target teens than in Seventeen magazine a publication devoted to their very needs and desires. The inch thick wish book of teen fashion, style and beauty was the undisputed authority, sanctioning looks and desires for the sassy non-conformist 1970 teen.
Encouraging teens to “Be an Individualistic! Go where the experience awaits you !”the magazine was a kaleidoscope of psychedelic colors and catchphrases, filled with ads hawking the same products they had for decades only now catering to the readers individuality, rebelliousness and hedonism, while incorporating relevant trends like women’s lib, Vietnam and ecology.
Our own tour through the April 1970 issue of that teen bible features a first ever fashion layout by Peter Max described as “the pied piper of effervescent young ideas.”
What’s Your $ign
No one combined peace, love and commerce better than Peter Max. The former Madison Avenue wiz kid was a wizard of marketing, . His ubiquitous designs of heavenly influences could be found everywhere from clocks to clothes, all espousing harmony love and Max-imum good vibrations.
No doubt his horoscope predicted major profits.
Fashion to the Max
Peter Max was a one man design explosion with his interplanetary, hearts and stars and whimsical flourishes, all marked with merry Max-isms. “His creativity burst into fashion ( for the first time) in the pages of Seventeen,” the article gushes “and practically paints the whole issue in the warming colors of peace and love.”
A Galaxy of Mod Max Fashion
“Multiplex minis by Max! Zap! Here’s Peter Max splashy phantasma graphics on little knit cut-ups.”
“There are no gloomies in Peter Max land-just twirl the cheeriest umbrella this side of cloud 9 and see the smiles Inner Peace is achieved by stretching deep into the environment we feel Max-imum vibrations beneath the surface as Peter puts his stamp on weightless body stocking. The cling-a-ling all in one zings with colorworks.
All you need is Love
Color Me Groovy
Trying to attract a younger audience for their shoe polish ( now rebranded shoe coloring) Esquire was no longer just for your establishment Dad’s corporate wing tips or your Moms died to match satin pumps.
With Lady Esquire Instant Shoe Coloring – you could be creative and make your whole world a coloring book in groovy colors like Cop-Out Copper, Butter Up Yellow and Groovin Green.
“So you’re out to change the world,” the ad begins. “We can do it together. Turn the world Mad Magenta, color your shoes, go onto boots, belts, bags buttons.”
Do Your own Thing.
Rejecting tradition, these teens would rather die than end up like their uptight cookie cutter parents.
Old reliable Rit fabric dye found a whole new generation of consumers.
No longer just for Mom’s organza curtains, or that new shirtwaist dresses, with a bottle of familiar Rit fabric dye you could create a total tie-dyed world.
A fad was born.
For the ultimate do your own thing kind of chick there was Rit’s “Splash and Dash” a companion to tie dye. No matter what you do, the ad promised, “ it’s exciting, it’s unique …it’s you. A real original original.”
The ad featured some far-out fashions from Simplicity Patterns suggesting “You not only sew the dress…you print the fabric too! Splash dyeing with Rit is the fun fad of the year…..yet no 2 are alike.”
Unleashing your inner Jackson Pollack was never so easy.
“Take a small paint brush and dip it in Rit. Then let it drip on the fabric. You can flick your wrist sprinkle freely or move it in a patterned movement or paint with brush on long free form strokes or use a squeeze bottle to squirt the Rit.”
A Charmed Life
Hoping to charm a new generation of consumers. Monet jewelry went out to prove that even a non materialistic hippy chick could still dig that 1950’s charm bracelet.
A frequent advertising device was to simply slap on a leather headband on a pretty model and instant hippy.
This Woodstock wannabe is incongruously still sporting a charm bracelet, an oh so feminine piece of jewelry, dangling with the decorative pendants and trinkets that chronicle the small moments in a life. Unless Monet intended to create trinkets marking a first acid trip, Grateful Dead concert or a miniature gold protest sign, its success seems doubtful.
Free To Be Me
On the cusp of women lib, girls wanted liberation too and Madison Ave was happy to oblige offering 2 New Freedoms – “better ways to be free to enjoy being a woman.”
Kotex sanitary napkins beckoned the liberated teen to catch up and become part of the hassle free generation. This was the new, newer look of confidence.
Getting your period was a hassle, man. But now with Kotexs New Freedom there was no hassle . Out went the old-fashioned sanitary belt.
Beltless, pinless and fussless, Kotex offered these revolutionary self adhesive napkins, No compromising and no bulging, no embarrassing…just flush it and forget it. (though the environment might not be so forgetful)
Freedom was all around these girls; raising their consciousness, they were free to love and free to be you and me. Young women were shucking their inhibitions along with their bras. It may have been the dawning of the age of Aquarius but it was also the dawning of the age of FDS.”Being a girl was never nicer…than now…in the age of FDS. ”
Feminine hygiene spray was no longer just for married ladies; it was the now experience to show the world you’re with it!
Let it All Hang Out
The way out weighs in! Exercise your option to lose weight even if being slender wasn’t really optional…fatso!
Keepin’ It Real
This was the age of peace, love and polyester
Madison Avenue knew it was important to harmonize with the world and keep in tempo with whats real. Nothing said back to the earth authenticity like a non biodegradable polyester/ peasant blouse made from petro chemicals. They may have been wearing polyester but they were down to earth in their hearts.
The Now Generation Makes clothes for the Now Generation
Environment Clothes for the Environment Hassle Free Polyester
The environment was on everyone’s mind.
In April of 1970 millions took to the streets, auditorium to demonstrate for a healthy sustainable environment in. What better way to celebrate the first Earth day than protesting at a rally in crinkly polyurethane coat
Even back to nature chicks needed to powder their meaningful teenage noses. Corn silk brand makeup came to their rescue. When corn wasn’t being used for high fructose corn syrup it was pressed into service as face powder.
Tellin It Like It Is
Hallmark got hip with their stationary making it easier to get down and tell it like it is! “The great new writing paper that’s half the message. Extrasensory colors in madly relevant designs.
With war protests spreading across campuses, Bravura Cologne made this offer “If your guy has a mind of his own then he’s a man who hears a different drummer and deserves a mini bottle of Bravura, the different cologne. ”
This ad appeared one month before the tragic protests at Kent State when Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd killing 4 and wounding 9 students. Sadly, there was not a “different drummer” among the soldiers that day.
Copyright (©) 2015 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved