Sunday, 7 May 2017

Icon theft in advertising is nothing new

Private Eye magazine has a regular feature on the doings of advertising agencies. It frequently reports on agencies ripping off prize-winning art or the work of other agencies. However, this is nothing new. The striking image of two beauties linking the two American continents, used by Liverpool shipping line Lamport & Holt, was lifted from the promotional brochure for the 1912 Pan-American Exposition. The US National Geographic reports on the research of P.J. Mode, a retired lawyer who collects maps that were specifically designed to persuade people in one way or another.

When the original logo was created, the artist, Raphael Beck, was selected from among 400 applicants, and a beauty contest was held to find two women to serve as models. “This logo was plastered everywhere, on things from the Pan-American Exposition,” Mode says. “And 10 years later, this steamship company, the Lamport & Holt Line, stole the image and put it on their advertising.”

The whole National Geographic article, on the power of maps as a tool of persuasion, is fascinating.

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