Let’s Go Back To 1998 – Rolling Stone Ads

I WAS in a tucked away bookshop in Glasgow, Scotland, when I saw a 1998 edition of Rolling Stone magazine next to the resident cat that spends most of it’s time on its back napping and loves to be petted.

Not bad for £2. I was interested to see what the copy (advertising) was like and how it’s aged in relation to magazine ads now.

The art of manliness – be a cowboy, ignore the Surgeon General, and smoke. Five years later, in the UK at least, magazine and billboard advertising of cigarettes was banned in 2003.
A powerful image, perfectly crafted words – I like it. Crown Royale ticked all the boxes.
Playful and impacting, a little fun in the sun for a classic brand. Although I do wonder if they did their research on this. Are there any trendy vampires? And slightly ironic that I got a solid bit of glare in the photo.
Simple layout but it’s got an allure. Three small stories for each picture, all totally fictional of course but it’s engaging. Do people have time to read these style of ads? I’d imagine not given the relentless competition from other media sources.
The extinct AOL keyword, CDs, and typical multi-item layout: a blast from the past.
It’s 1998. And there’s a link to a website theglobe.com which I tried to access but it’s a dead site. Interesting that a global chat room idea before Facebook existed but clearly never took off.
It’s amusing looking back: the pictures suggest enjoyment and ease of use. Windows 1998 was cutting edge then and had zero competitors really. How much is a million megabytes really, now? Not much I suspect. But owning a laptop with Windows 98 was a big deal in the 56k days.
The Chicago Bulls had peaked. A typical minimalist ad by Nike with a strong motivational message (the janitor line is niiice) and superstar athlete endorsement of Scottie Pippen. The company has deep pockets and a great marketing team, the copy manages to avoid cliche and delivers a solid punch. Today’s athlete endorsed ads tend to stick to visuals and maybe a line or two of copy.
A batchelor talking to his dog and mention of cats – obviously a pizza ad! The copy is clever with subtle humour but does it sell the pizza? As most pizzas of that variety are largely fit for pet food I think in some way it does… A great example of overcomplicating what should be an easy sell.

4 thoughts on “Let’s Go Back To 1998 – Rolling Stone Ads

  1. I remember when lots of my father’s books had ads in them, offering anything from indigestion tablets to hair restorer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Andrew how are you?
      I love seeing old adverts, it’s interesting to see what was being sold at the time and the way they tried to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pretty good, Fionn, and hope you are too!
        Many of the old ads seem so innocent and harmless when compared to the aggressive, in-your-face ones of 2019. The message was and is aoften the same – you need and want this product, and can afford it – when actually you don’t and can’t.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good also thanks.
        There’s definitely a more subtle style that has evolved into the more aggressive ads of today.


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