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Charles Atlas Knows Advertising

I remember one of the first dates I ever went on in high school.  I had just picked up my girlfriend, and we were heading to a friends house on double date.

We were engaged in casual conversation when out of the blue a guy on a Harley roared past and then cut us off.  He stuck his hand in the air and gave me the “bird.”

The funny thing was I did nothing to warrant the fat scruffy guys response.  Maybe driving too slowly? I don’t know.

Being a young cat trying to be cool, in my ’81 Cutlus Supreme, I didn’t know what to say.  I was super embarrassed.  Here as I was trying to impress my new friend and instead got humiliated right in front of her.

I can still recall those strong emotions of embarrassment.  It ruined the entire rest of the evening -- at least for me. When you think about the old Charles Atlas Ads and why they were extremely popular, it comes down to a strong emotion.  No guy wants to get sand kicked in his face sitting next to his girl.

So many people could relate to the funny ad of Mac.

Here's a skinny guy who got sand kicked in his face and couldn’t do a thing about it.  Right in front of his women and other people right on the beach. This ad if you recall was to sell Charles Atlas’ courses. This was an extremely successful campaign. His works sold even in the midst of the depression.

Having that story visualized made the message even stronger.  The reader could instantly visualize the plot and relate to how the character was feeling inside.  The comic-like illustration drew you into the scene as MAC. The images helped plant memory anchors in the minds of the readers.

The visual anchor and strong emption evoked from the ad are the reasons why so many people if asked do they know about the body builder of yesterday say, "Oh yeah, that’s the guy who got sand kicked in his face?"

Well, kinda.

Best,

Vince Palko

 

 

 

 
 
 
         

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