Register 200th anniversary: Ads from recent years show the change in businesses
Dec 08, 2012 (New Haven Register - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A look at advertising in the last 25 years or so shows rapidly changing technology and prices, of course, but also the high turnover rate of businesses despite the demonstrated effectiveness of print display ads.
With the exception of perennials such as Macy's and Partyka Chevrolet, the Register's pages over the last 40 or 50 years include bold ads from grocery stores, appliance retailers, car dealerships, banks and national brands -- some of which are no longer in business.
In 1969, Friendly Frost Stores (Hamden and Milford) advertised a "famous make" 30-inch electric range for $111 and a self-cleaning Hotpoint for $199. A double-door refrigerator went for $154.
In 1986, ads in the Register and Journal-Courier fanned interest for products at Caldor, Pergament, Crazy Eddie, Shopper's World, Howland's and Alexander's. You may have relatives who worked at those places, but you probably don't have the things you bought there.
Ancient New Haven Savings Bank, advertising 7 percent loans, was later taken public for the financial bonanza, merged with a couple of other banks, transformed into NewAlliance Bank, then merged into First Niagara in 2011. That's also the role of advertising: to tell you when your bank has been gobbled up.
In those same papers was a full-page ad for Ritz cigarettes, which were "low-tar luxury 100s by Yves Saint Laurent."
In the mid-1980s, you could find an ad for the new high-tech Apple II-e computer with a 10-megabyte hard disk! But much more common were ads for videocassette recorders. Gather around, kids, and Grandpa will tell you about VCRs, which included a Zenith 8-head, hi-fi stereo version advertised for $599. Pricey for then, but VCRs were the beginning of TV viewing you could control or collect.
The ads by 2000 tend to resemble today's except in the rapidly changing technology area. At the start of the new millennium, a Star-Tac flip phone was pretty cool and still much-advertised, as were Nokia slabs with small screens at the top.
In 2002, you could be lured into a Comcast cable and Internet package for $65 a month for 16 months. Ten years later, the price is about double that.
As for ad and marketing techniques, advertising evolved from a gray 1841 ad for the New Haven Boot & Shoe Store, with a mention of products "unsurpassed in quality and price," to more colorful ads in the 1980s through today with crisp typefaces, photos and products on sale for a limited time. And now there are vivid ads on the Register's website that move and blink and allow readers to click through to advertisers' websites, doing things that yesterday's ad departments couldn't even imagine.
Read more about the Register's 200th anniversary.
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