Friday, January 11, 2008

A Little-Known Source for Great Ad Ideas

Swipe files have been on my mind lately, and Ben Settles mentioned a great source of ads recently: old comic books.

As a recovered comic book geek, I remember those ads very well. Here are a few of my favorites:

Ah, good old Charles Atlas. These ads were great. Notice the little comic-style story in the left margin. Comics were the perfect place for these ads, comic book readers being a pretty picked-on bunch, after all. Here's a another version in all its four color glory:

These ads combined all the color, power and zap! of the comics with proven direct response principles. They don't run them like this anymore. Comics these days have gone to running image ads. To find some of these old gems, check out flea markets, antique stores, and the back issue bins of your local comic shop. Most comic books lose their value over time, so you can walk out with a box full of them for a few bucks, though many will run the same ads (many comic store owners protect their stock in protective plastic sleeves, so make sure it's OK with them to take a look at the inside back cover to see if there's an ad you want to take home).

Happy hunting!

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