Non Traditional Advertising

A Look Back At Non-Traditional Advertising

Non-traditional advertising typical involves advertisements found in places other than newspapers, magazine, or in general, the media. Some of the more clever advertisements seen on TV almost fall into the classification of non-traditional advertising, at least to the extent that they can be entertaining, and often very funny. Some of these advertisements save the name of the product to the very end rather than devoting the total segment to hard sell.

Barns - Those who have lived a good many years can remember some of the non traditional advertising that was done in the somewhat distant past. Once can go back to the time before our highways and city streets were cluttered with billboards. Some enterprising ad man convinced a farmer to allow an advertisement to be painted on the side of his barn, the side facing the road. Soon a great many products were being advertised on the sides of barns, with advertisements for flour and livestock feed often leading the way.

Skywriters And Banners - Then there were the skywriters, writing their messages in the sky on a cloudless, windless day. The days weren't always windless of course, and the messages had to be short to begin with, often not more than two or three words, as by the time the last word was completed, the first word was starting to break apart and drift away. Another airborne means of non traditional advertising was the towing of a banner behind a low-flying aircraft. You can still see some of this today, usually from a crowded football stadium around election time, where the advertising message begins with "Vote For...".

Goodyear - Still another innovative approach was the Goodyear blimp, which made regular trips all around the country, and the only message needed was the word "Goodyear" on the side of the blimp. Most of us never considered the fact that there was more than one blimp, and were continuously amazed that the blimp could pop up over  New York one day and over San Francisco the next. Today of course there are a number of different blimps, often doing their advertising after dark with programmable flashing  messages.

Burma Shave - Quite possibly the greatest venture into non traditional advertising occurred during the last few years of the 1920's with the advent of the Burma Shave signs, with catchy jingles that did word play on the act of shaving, saving the actual promotion to the last sign in the sequence  - Driving Past School/Take It Slow/Let The Little/Shavers Grow/ Burma Shave.  This form of non traditional advertising enjoyed a run of nearly 30 years, as the signs could be found along most major highways, and not a few country roads. It was the construction of the Interstates, which allowed automobiles to travel too fast to easily read the signs, that eventually did this form of advertising in.

From Sandwich Boards To Football Stadiums - Where 60 or 70 years ago, the sandwich board was a popular means of non traditional advertising, that what was advertised was often a local business. Large corporations didn't usually use this unique form of spreading the word. What large corporations do today, is have their logos imprinted on the sides and hoods of racing cars, on the jackets of NASCAR drivers, and on the shirts of professional athletes. Lately, to the displeasure of some, cherished ball parks and stadiums have assumed the name of sponsoring corporations, and to the displeasure of many, this practice may be spreading to college stadiums. Already, the names of most of our better known football bowl game sites, the Rose Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl and Fiesta Bowl are slowly being preceded by a corporate name, some of which sound downright ridiculous. Non traditional advertising however is in most instances entertaining, and often very effective, and will likely always be with us.