Sunday, July 01, 2012

This used to be news

This weekend before America's birthday, how about we take a minute to reflect on the way things used to be -- and how far we've come in less than half a century?

This story ran in the Aug. 19, 1963 edition of Broadcasting magazine, recounting a bold advertising move made by Lever Brothers. That bold move? Integrated advertising.

In August 1963, when your 51-year-old correspondent was a 2½-year-old child, it was a risky thing for TV commercial for Wisk detergent to feature an African-American Little Leaguer.

We used to call blacks "Negroes" or "colored" then, and that's when we were being polite. And Lever Brothers, the makers of Wisk and other household products, felt the need to send "letters to its six advertising agencies informing them of its decision to 'take affirmative action' in the representation of minority races on TV."

In 1963, color television was still a big deal, too. In 1963, that Wisk ad absolutely represented being more of "your all-color station" than many areas of these United States had bargained for.

Food for thought.
Happy Independence Day.

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