Beyond belief: a new Charles Saatchi tome reveals advertising’s dark past
There was a brief spell at the turn of the century when rediscovered retro imagery provided a startling reminder of the sins of the past. A treasure trove of advertising archives surfaced online, bringing a thrilling schadenfreude that allowed us to balk piously at the blatant ignorance, sexism, bigotry and pure wrong-headedness of old school advertising.
In recent years, we’ve had Mad Men weaving a compelling narrative out of this particular mire, and it’s safe to say that the intersection of old-fashioned ignorance and what was then ultra-modern media still holds a morbid fascination. Charles Saatchi’s latest compendium pulls together the best of the worst, complete with typically pithy dismissals.
What’s saddest of all – as a glimpse at the trending social media of the day regularly reveals – is that such attitudes are not as safely confined to history as we might like, meaning that Beyond Belief fails to make you feel better about yourself.