Blast from the Past

A lighthearted look at our industry’s storied history.

Get Over It

When Sally Fields won her Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Norma Rae, she famously said, “You like me, you really like me.” For her it was validation that she was a fine actress.

A need for validation is something that this industry longed for a few decades ago. Every slight, no matter how small, was taken as an egregious slur or as Dr. Smith from Lost in Space might say, “a poisonous barb.” How dare they.

One year a Dallas newspaper reporter got onto the SAAI (the predecessor of PPAI) show floor and penned a sarcastic piece about ad specialties. Another incident involved famed curmudgeon Andy Rooney riffing about the trinkets industry on 60 Minutes. Not one to shrug it off, both smear campaigns were addressed in a Counselor editorial and staff writers were directed to call the offending parties to ferret out an apology, to which Rooney asked, baffled, “you want me to do what?” (True story.)

But the industry has grown from those thin-skinned days. Sure no one wants to get poked in the eye, but these days we brush these hurled insults off and go about business. Every slip of the lip does not call into question the motives of the lip slipper. Nah, who cares? Remember, sticks and stones …

Anyway, since August seemed to be the “time” when grievances were redressed, enjoy this offering from Augusts past.


Why do all the apparel ads have people looking every which way? Regardless, add this thought balloon: “Dude, you look like a dork with your hood up.” From 1980


Give a gift that’s rare and unique. Yes, rare and unique are a few words to describe these candles. From 1980


I’ve found more gems in these balloon ads. The little girl loved her balloon astronaut so much that she went on to marry it … and eventually spent thousands on therapy in later years. From 1976


This was the image used for an article that talked about a contest to create an effective promotion for a dream casino? Yes, a Victorian-inspired building is certainly a dream. From 1978


Hated these pens; a veritable cylindrical lie. See that eraser? Yeah, it never erased the ink. Rather it ate a hole in your paper and if you went to Catholic school, like me, that was not a good thing. From 1976