October 27, 2016

To Vote is to Exist

Milton Glaser is one of America’s most famous graphic and poster designers. While his name may not be familiar, his work will be. Among his designs are I ♥ NY, the cover art for Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits album, and the Brooklyn Brewery’s logo. He has also designed restaurants, newspapers, and supermarkets. One of his most recognizable works is the I Heart New York logo. In the 1970s, New York City's crime rate was sky high, it was considered too dangerous to walk around safely in many neighborhoods, and the city stood on the verge of bankruptcy. Ad agency Wells Rich Greene and Milton Glaser were selected to design a logo to be used in a campaign which would hopefully increase tourism and morale.
October 21, 2016

Bob Dylan: Musician, Nobel Prize Winner, and Pitchman

Last week, legendary singer-songwriter and musician Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, surprising literary circles and delighting music fans around the world. Dylan is only one of two musicians to ever be awarded the coveted prize; Bengali polymath won the prize in 1913. The Swedish Academy said that Dylan "created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition," comparing his work to that of Homer and Sappho. Dylan is certainly unique among the Nobel prize winners – he may also be one of the very few prize winners to play the role of pitchman. Back in 1965, as one of the country's foremost counterculture icons, Dylan famously told a reporter that if he ever sold to a commercial interest, it'd be "ladies garments."
September 16, 2016

Can We Trust Political Polls and Why Do We Still Use Nielsen Ratings?

The answers to these questions have a common origin that takes us back 80 years to 1936. Commercial consumer and social research was a new business then – AC Nielsen had been founded 13 years previously (in 1936 it was about the same age as Facebook is now) and Gallup inc. was just one year old. As it turned out, events in 1936 would soon make Gallup front-page news. Like 2016, 1936 was a general election year in the US and there were opinion polls. One organization that considered itself expert in this field was The Literary Digest, a magazine that had been in the polling business since 1916.
September 15, 2016

Hair Apparent: Image is Everything

The Open Era in tennis refers to a period that began in 1968, when Grand Slam tournaments allowed professional players to compete alongside amateurs. I think of it as the phenomenal two week stretch in late August, when my TV viewing focuses almost exclusively on watching tennis at the US Open. Matches air from morning well past midnight, taking place just a few miles from midtown Manhattan. The US Open, the fourth and final tennis Grand Slam of the year and the only one played in the United States, takes place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens.
September 1, 2016

The (Baseball) Boys of Summer

August 26th of this year marked the 77th anniversary of the first televised major league baseball game. The game aired on W2XBS, which became WNBC-TV. Called by announcer Red Barber, the matchup featured the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. According to History.com only an estimated 400 people in the New York area had access to a TV at the time. But the broadcast coincided with the 1939 World’s Fair, taking place in nearby Flushing Meadows (now home of the USTA National Tennis Center and the US Open). At the event, RCA introduced TVs to American consumers. And with the telecast of the Reds vs Dodgers, NBC’s broadcasting business began.
June 2, 2016

Marilyn, an Advertising Muse for All Time

Yesterday would have been Marilyn Monroe’s 90th birthday. Despite her tragic passing nearly 54 years ago in 1962, her status as a Hollywood icon endures. Her look, her voice, and her work continues to be recreated in pop culture. Most known for her numerous silver screen films like The Seven Year Itch, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Some Like it Hot, she was less known for her television work. She starred in a very few TV commercials and fewer TV shows. In 1953, she made a guest appearance on the "Jack Benny Show." She supposedly did not like unpredictability of live television, preferring studio work instead.