'Color Uncle Frank Playful Grey Flannelâ€™: The J. Walter Thompson Colouring Book
In the long-gone days of 2015-16, adult colouring books suddenly became nothing less than a phenomenon. The Independent even reported that the craze had led to a 'global pencil shortage'. Imagine my surprise, then, when working on Adam Matthew Digitalâ€™s forthcoming J. Walter Thompson: Advertising America, I came across a colouring book for adults, released as long ago as 1974! Produced with the intention of introducing JWT's Atlanta office to potential clients, this playful offering features a series of cartoon illustrations of its staff, accompanied by tongue-in-cheek captions.
The book highlights some of the more unique fashions of the 1970s: among those depicted are several aficionados of 'maroon pants and white shoes' - although Floyd, who 'reps the Marine Corps', 'does not have maroon pants or white shoes. Marines are rugged individualists'. Alongside, we see comment on the â€ślong lunchâ€ť. Debbie 'covers up for Nick and Buddy while they are out on five hour lunchesâ€™.
There was, of course, a serious point to all this. Even with a generous helping of satirical humour, the Atlanta Office was on the lookout for new business. In producing a colouring book, it had found a unique way of publicising the company and its staff, repeating its best-known copy, and plugging prestigious accounts.
And what better way of showcasing creative talent than this?