A "Pott" of (Old) Gold

There's a great show on CBC Radio about advertising called "The Age of Persuasion". This morning AoP host Terry O'Reilly was interviewed on another CBC Radio show called "Q". O'Reilly spoke about how advertising must give something back to the consumer - that there is an unwritten but plainly apparent "contract" between advertiser and consumer: you give us your time and attention, we promise to entertain or delight you in some way.

Here, in my mind, is an ad that honours the contract.

O'Reilly talks about how advertising creates its own predicament: "As an industry we create clutter," says O'Reilly, "and then we spend every waking moment trying to break through it." Well kudos to the ad agency that convinced Old Gold Cigarettes to produce this amazing ad back in 1944, because this ad breaks through the clutter.

This might just be the prettiest ad for cancer I've ever seen!

Advertisers and Art Directors take note: when is a pack shot a work of art? When you let an illustrator interpret it in his own unique, gorgeous style and to hell with photorealistic accuracy. I would gladly frame and hang this beautiful hand drawn cigarette pack 'still life' on my wall - and Old Gold would have

There are so many things about this ad I'd love to discuss and analyze, but most revelatory for me was the deciphering of the artist's signature. It took me a while to realize this Old Gold ad was the work of Rudy Pott.

Rudy Pott?

Unbelievable! I mean, I've been a huge fan of Rudy Pott's work for some years now, but this was Rudy Pott.

This was Rudy Pott.

This was Rudy Pott.

I've seen a lot of unsigned old ads done in this friendly, cartoony style as I've poured through my magazine collection... but I never imagined they might be the work of Rudy Pott.

(Yes folks, this is actually the kind of stuff that's gets us all hopped up and perky here at Today's Inspiration Central Command).

So that got me thinking... if that 1944 Old Gold ad was the work of Rudy Pott, then this 1947 Borden's Instant Coffee ad might just be by Rudy Pott as well.

The style is certainly very similar...

And that got me digging out my old back up CDs from the early pre-blog days of Today's Inspiration.

Could these old late '40s Duz detergent ads not also be the work of Rudy Pott?

Personally, I think they could very well be.

There's a little bit of info out there on H Rudolf Pott. He was born in 1899 in Philadelphia and attended art school there. Upon graduating in 1927 he immediately headed west, to New Mexico and Arizona, in the hopes of learning first hand the skills and subject matter that would make of him a first-rate Western artist in the tradition of Frederic Remington. Upon his return to the east Coast he discovered the market for Western artists was glutted.

Instead, Pott turned his skills to other subjects. He became a regular contributor to The Saturday Evening Post especially, as seen in the more realistic examples shown earlier above. And now we know his more humorous style was popular with advertisers as well - surely a lucrative source of income for the affable looking fellow seen here.

Rudy Pott died in 1974.

That's it for today. Hopefully I'll find out more about Rudy Pott in the future. When I do, I promise you'll be the first to know.

* My Rudy Pott Flickr set.

* You can hear Terry O'Reilly being interviewed on this "Q" podcast. The interview begins about 1/3 of the way along the time line.

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