The place to be.

I consider myself lucky for having had two formative and cool jobs before careening into the advertising agency world. One was at a record store — Budget Tapes and Records (’86-’89) — followed by Kinko’s Copies (’89-’95).

(I’m ignoring the horrifying month of selling Sears maintenance agreements over the phone in between those two gigs.)

I remember wearing the blue Kinko’s apron with the deep pockets that would fill with office products during my shifts, and I occasionally look to see if any survivors ever show up on eBay/Etsy/etc. Not yet.

Last week, I was on the Wikipedia page for FedEx Office, and read the following…

Kinko’s played a significant role in the development of American counterculture in the 1980s and 1990s. In her study of the role of xerography in urban cultures in this period, the anthropologist Kate Eichhorn recounts:

“At its height of popularity between the late 1980s and mid-1990s, Kinko’s outlets in urban centres across North America were catch basins for writers, artists, anarchists, punks, insomniacs, graduate students, DIY bookmakers, zinesters, obsessive compulsive hobbyists, scam artists, people living on the street, and people just living on the edge. Whether you were promoting a new band or publishing a pamphlet on DIY gynaecology or making a fake ID for an underage friend, Kinko’s was the place to be.”

She’s not wrong.

After checking out the footnote reference, then looking for the journal the article was in and finding out it would cost $$$ to read it on an academic site, I contacted the author so see if she still had a copy of the article and she let me know that article became part of one of her books. She is a very excellent person.

Adjusted Margin: Xerography, Art, and Activism in the Late Twentieth Century by Dr. Kate Eichhorn (MIT Press, 2016)

So I bought the book. It ain’t no apron, but it’s part of my past before the Internet kicked in, and books are pretty neat too.

“You feel sour, sunk and the world looks punk.”

From 1942 or so. Found on the back of a newspaper clipping.

From 1942 or so. Found on the back of a newspaper clipping.

So what exactly was in Carter’s Little Liver Pills? A laxative.

I guess not having calomel was a good thing since it often caused mercury poisoning.

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Destruction is never fashionable.

Do Not Destroy

I know the retail world is rather volatile these days, but I’d still like to see the creative brief/strategy that led to Kohl’s new tagline.

Walt ain’t answering.

I was so focused on this 1966 telephone newspaper ad this weekend that I didn’t notice it was next to Walt Disney’s obituary until today.

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Oh, the Trumanity!

Some business trade writers are objective and let the readers form their own opinions from the provided information, and then there was Truman A. De Weese.

Excerpted from an article in System – The Magazine of Business, July 1907.

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“Blazingly bright and stunning, digital technology is revolutionizing the billboard experience.”

1906? We can probably blame the opium.

Found on the back cover of the June 1906 issue of The American Thresherman

Found on the back cover of the June 1906 issue of The American Thresherman.

Product Not To Scale

The ad copy:
It Fills the Bill
J.L. Case Threshing Machine Co.
Racine, Wis.

“That’s hot.”

A pink or caucasian-toned Paris HIlton Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven seen as a ROSS store with anti-theft device and priced at $24.99.

“That’s hot.” — Paris Hilton, forgetting to use her oven mitts again

Best of luck to the marketing team receiving this consumer insight.

Ope, never mind. I cracked it.

The commercial begins with a dolly shot into a grocery store cereal aisle, moving past a stockboy stocking and a young man shopping with a plastic shopping basket. An indistinct easy-listening song is playing in the store. 

A 40-something woman with messy hair and wearing sweatpants and an oversized sweater is checking out cereal box options. She has a half-filled shopping cart with several items in it usually targeting children.

She takes a box of Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries off a shelf and suddenly the lights in the store dim, a disco ball drops, and the music becomes a bit louder and… sexier.

She looks up at the disco ball, then down the aisle to see the stockboy and shopper staring at her, entranced.

Startled, she puts the cereal box back and everything returns to as it was before.

She pauses, then grabs the cereal box back off the shelf. The lights dim, the disco ball drops again, the music now morphs into full boom-chicka-mow-mow music.

When she looks down the aisle again, the two from before have been joined by several other male shoppers and one female shopper, all with plastic shopping baskets except for one guy who is holding too many things in his arms. All stare at her, entranced. A glass jar falls and breaks on the floor. A red hawk cries somewhere in the distance.

A decision made and with a sweeping arm, she knocks many boxes of Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries into her shopping cart and pushes it down the aisle, leaving a cereal box of the floor. As she turns the corner out of sight, the stockboy and shoppers all lunge for the box on the floor. A scuffle commences.

End tag with a grooving Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries cereal box, music and voiceover saying “Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries. It’s not just ok, it’s ohhh yeahhhhh.”

Possible options with a George Takei cameo and/or Barry White hologram.

What posts are called on the different social networks:

Facebook — Post

Instagram — Post

Twitter — Tweet

Mastodon — Toot

Bluesky — Skeet

Pinterest — Pin

Snapchat — Snap

Threads — Strand

Tumblr — Clink

LinkedIn — Outie

TikTok — Rangoon

Myspace — Tom

Reddit — Ditz