Yep! Even more old-times goodness extracted from the cobweb-covered cardboard columns of slides and prints in the dark QUINN archive room.  Images from the old days when ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ required much more physical exertion and a steady hand with an Exacto knife. Behold! The advertising days of yore! When real artists were brought in to hand-paint billboards, or designers would search through giant books of clip-art for the perfect 1970’s dude in a turtleneck and bell bottoms! Enjoy these low-res beacons of commerce from Spokane advertisers of another era!

Let’s begin with a retail institution many Spokanites may be familiar with…

2 Swabbies

2 Swabbies!  Above is a two-fer for the old Spokane retail establishment of 2 Swabbies.  The top image clearly (clearly?) shows the infamous marquee of the Valley store, while the second image promotes their North Division shoe store.  The original 2 Swabbies on Sprague had an iconic look. My personal memory of this store was that it introduced me to….Cheese-flavored popcorn! Yes it was a department store with a snack bar! Sort of a ‘proto-Target’? I have fewer memories of the North Side shoe store.  Because when I was a kid, shoe stores were like punishment.

From an advertising perspective, the art is fairly limited in the top billboard – perhaps to focus attention on the crazy / iconic roofline? So …perhaps it was brilliant! The second is a fairly mundane-but highly visible, readable and very clean-but not anything that will any awards. Dang.

Remember Pontiac? They used to make cars. Remember Pontiac City? I don’t.  Nevertheless, this is a fun ad. Apparently this was a new car dealership and this billboard was a means to promote that. My… the address is pretty small.

I think the ‘kid’ wearing the Native American headgear is something most advertisers would avoid these days. I expect the headgear was a means to connect the kid to Chief Pontiac, which was cute in a way.  As I mentioned in the last post on our archives, modern advertising doesn’t use cartoon kids (or adults) in ads any more.  With iStock and other sources, I expect the first choice is to default to an image that is close. Too bad as these little cartoons can be very iconic on their own. It might be clever (and somewhat retro, which is not as cool as it once was) to try this sort of thing out.

When you need more oil, call Boyle! That was the often repeated theme that Spokanites of the pre-digital era will remember well. This article on Spokane TV History remembers Boyle’s many years of sponsoring and advertising in Spokane.

From a creative standpoint, well, you don’t get much more direct than with this ad copy. And the pun. So many puns.

I personally don’t remember Sportsman’s Surplus.  This billboard doesn’t help.  It’s frankly hard to tell what’s happening in this ad. I see the tent, but the rock face and/or trees behind it seem strange.  There’s no ground? I think the problem here is there’s just enough detail for the tent and rockface/trees and then zero detail for the rest of the ad it all just sort of appears…off?  The logo, which might be fine in other places, seems kind of hard to read as well.

But…at least the address is large. So its got that going for it.

Two from a Coldwell’s Gift/Floral shop.  Another business I don’t remember.  Two very mundane ads.  I like the ‘Gift Pavillion’ term – that does sound intriguing.  But I can imagine that if you drove by these billboards several times per week, AND you need to get a gift, the gift pavillion at Coldwell’s might be a place to check out.  Especially if you are looking for a gift for a Raggedy Ann fan.

Probably my favorite for this round, mainly because of the pitiful illustration of the washer-woman. Such a simple problem to be solved by advertising….get a washing machine!  Back in the ’70’s were there a lot of folks still washing clothes this way?