Ads #39: Speech Bubble Advertising

I was always a sucker for an ad that read like a comic book. I may not have always bought the product, but I sure read every word. It was pretty effective advertising, considering I still remember most of them after all these years. 

Anyone out there ever buy the product in the advertisement above? (click images to enlarge)  Something tells me it didn't work as easily as it is shown in the ad.  I can't help but wonder why, of all the types of statues, they chose to highlight the swimmer.  I mean, how did they even guess it was a swimmer in the first place? It looks like a dude in his underwear.  If my dad had caught me sculpting this thing, he would have thought I was gay.  I'm just sayin'.

Excellent ad, but the whole "trace a face" thing is a bit o a bit of a joke.  I mean, look at the stick - it's nothing but a few curvy lines and circles..... seems like even the least talented artists among us could manage that without need of a stencil. Ya think?

Oh, yeah. It's the dream of many a man - to get in your boss' face and say "take this job and shove it".  Johnny Paycheck was the man.  I wonder how many poor shlubs out there actually told their bosses off only to find CIE was a complete sham.  That would suck.

My favorite line from this one is "you can't say that in a magazine if it isn't so"!  Joe is evidently a very naive fellow.... maybe he was being sarcastic.  Let's hope.

I don't think they'd allow this advertisement today because of the rigid guidelines on how cigarettes can be marketed.  It cannot appeal to kids in any way (remember Joe Camel?).  It's hard to believe Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble were once pitch men for cancer sticks.... it's true.

"Gotta get this tampon out of sight!"  You can feel this poor girl's panic.  I wonder if teenagers today would feel similar embarrassment. I'm guessing, in most cases, a gigantic pulsating dildo could fall on the floor, and the girl wouldn't bat an eye.

The "I was a 90 pound weakling" is easily the most famous cartoon/comic book style advertisement, but the D&D ads will always be closest to my retro-heart.  There was a whole series of them, but the one pictured above was the most famous.  It was on the back of seemingly every comic book in existence in the early eighties.

And I've saved the best for last...

click to enlarge

I remember this one from Famous Monsters of Filmland all too well....  probably due to my junior-high hormone ravaged mind getting a load of that hot chick in the bikini.   If you're wondering who illustrated this, look no further than the thick booty - it's my main man, Frazetta (his signature in the last panel is also a clue).


  1. I had the Chip Away did work...fairly well; there was a soft plastic/claylike substance over the "statue", which was made of harder plastic. You had to be careful not to leave nicks on the figure, though. I think they chose the swimmer for that ad due to Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Spitz's popularity at the time.

    Oh, and those D&D ads were the handiwork of a young Bill Willingham, who would go on to some cult popularity in the 80s with his super-team The Elementals; today he's best known as writer/creator of Fables.

    Loved this post!

  2. I also loved these type of ads. They were entertaining AND tried to sell you something. But you forgot the most famous one of all - Charles Atlas - who promised to make you strong so you would never have sand kicked in your face again.
    Other notables: ALL of the Hostess ads (Twinkies, Fruit Pies, etc...) with the DC Superheoroes.
    Spalding basketballs with Julius Erving.

  3. I'm thinking that smoking 20 cigarettes a day is gonna cost you over $1000 a year with the price nowadays.

  4. Pretty sure the tampon ad is drawn by Mad's Mort Drucker. Looks like his style.

  5. You can see me Chipin' Away here-


    Al Bigley

  6. The problem with Chip-Away was that the statues were made of a very slick plastic, so the paint did not adhere. After it dried, you could peel it off in sheets. Plus, once you carved out all the statues, the fun was over.

    I also remember those plastic popsicle sticks. Not only were they worthless to draw with, they were too flexible to properly support the popsicle. Buyer beware!

  7. I've been driving myself crazy trying to remember the name of the Chip Away toy. Several of my friends remember it but couldn't remember the name either.