I would like to take all the credit for the ads I am sharing with you but can claim none. My mate Malcolm Auld got his mate Henry Newrick to delve into his archive and find the ads that ran in 1918 in response to the Spanish Flu pandemic.
Of course, there was no radio then. No telly, no internet. Just papers, periodicals and flyers. It was called Spanish Flu but some people thought it started in the UK. Oops. That said, the first case was recorded at a military base in Kansas on March 11th 1918.
100 years ago, the messages were pretty much the same as today’s. Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Wear a mask. Cough, sneeze into a handkerchief. Avoid crowds. Ride a bicycle. (i.e. take exercise) Sport was stopped.
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And if you would like Henry Newrick’s booklet of over 100 ads of the time, email me more nicely and I’ll send you a PDF. What Henry writes in his intro is:
The great advantage we have in the 21st century is that even though countries are in lock-down and cross border travel is restricted we do have the means of communicating with each other through the internet – whether by email, social media, voice or video conferencing. We may be down but we are certainly not out.
One real danger as I see it is that we have now put virtually all our faith in one means of communication, the internet. I have long said that the most dangerous number in business is one and with the slow death of print media due to diminishing advertising and greater reliance on the internet in its various guises we are, as a society, taking a great risk.
If for any reason the internet is taken down, whether regionally, nationally or globally we will be well and truly ‘up the creek without a paddle’.
As the publisher of a print-based title, I know what he means!!!
Patrick Collister is one of the greatest creative directors in the advertising industry, ex-Google Zoo creative director, judge at many advertising and digital festivals and editor of Directory magazine. He is also a true friend of our agency.