Golden brands of 1961

Golden brands of 1961

Lemon. If there was one word that summed up marketing and advertising in 1961, it was lemon.

In the US, a VW print campaign was causing ripples across the advertising industry. Using simple headlines like ‘Lemon’ or ‘Think Small’, VW and its creative agency Doyle Dane Bernbach were masterfully persuading the American public to fall in love with a German car in the shadow of World War II.

Breaking conventions, this creative style was based on the subtle sell, and it marked a new approach for ad agencies – pairing copywriters and art directors as part of an equal team.

This side of the Atlantic, an altogether sleeker-looking car was causing waves – the E-Type Jaguar, Britain’s affordable answer to the flashy Italian Ferrari.

It was snapped up by celebrities such as footballer George Best and George Harrison from The Beatles. And it wasn’t the only British brand innovating in that year. Wilkinson Sword began to attract attention internationally for the first time, with the launch of a new and revolutionary Tefloncoated blade.

Two iconic strands of British advertising also debuted this year. Fairy Liquid’s memorable slogan ‘Now hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face, with mild green Fairy Liquid’, sang onto the screens. And there was a new kid in town – Nestlé’s Milky Bar Kid.

1961 snapshot

  • Current affairs: John F Kennedy becomes US president, the Vietnam War officially begins, construction of the Berlin Wall, and Tottenham Hotspur wins the League and Cup Double.
  • Films: West Side Story, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
  • Books: Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.
  • Music: The Beatles perform at The Cavern Club for the first time; the careers of The Beach Boys and The Temptations begin.
  • Births: Diana, Princess of Wales, George Clooney, Ricky Gervais.
  • Deaths: Ernest Hemingway, Vanessa Bell, George Formby.