Apr 13, 2012

A Titanic Addiversary

With the 100 year anniversary of the world's most famous sinking tragedy fast approaching, I thought I'd dig up a few ads from eras bygone and recent related to the Titanic.

White Star Line, Titanic Poster, 1912
This is one of several original posters from 1912 leading up to the fateful date, promoting the first (and final) voyage of "the largest liner in the world".

R.M.S. Titanic, "Vinolia Otto Toilet Soap", 1912.
And the merchandising. Published only once, a black & white version of this ad (with a slightly different layout) appeared in the April 6, 1912 edition of the London Illustrated News. The Toilet Soap was provided to First Class passengers and also available for purchase by the London public.

Titanic Return Voyage, 1912.
White Star Line also advertised in New York for the return trip from Pier 59 back to Europe. Obviously it never eventuated.

It seems advertisers steered clear of referencing the Titanic in any way until the popularity of the award-winning blockbuster movie in 1997 revived its popularity (I haven't been able to find any Titanic-themed ads before 2000).

Here are several print ads I found that pick up on the Titanic theme in different ways.

TAM Airlines Onboard Entertainment, "Titanic"
Ad Agency: Y&R Brazil, 2008.
Capitalizing on the success of the Titanic blockbuster movie, Y&R Brazil offers a different perspective of the event for TAM Airlines Onboard Entertainment.

Orange, "Iceberg"
Ad Agency: Ignitionk, Madrid, Spain, April, 2009.
Ignitionk went for a text & space approach to help illustrate Orange's audiodescription system for the blind.

Washin Opticians, "Titanic"
Ad Agency: Grey Tokyo, 2011.
One of two Titanic themed ads that sells the benefits of optical eyewear, Grey Tokyo illustrate the outcome had the ocean liner's captain and crew been wearing glasses by Washin Opticians.

Optics Schilling, "Titanic"
Ad Agency: Unitas-RNL, Santiago, Chile, 2009.
In this second eyewear ad (which actually came first chronologically), Unitas-RNL shows the end result thanks to Optics Schilling glasses.

Another "theme" I noticed in recent Titanic-based ads was that several focussed on the ship's size.

Megastar Cineplex, "Titanic"
Ad Agency: Ogily & Mather, Vietnam 2007.

Vodafone Mobile Video Store, "Titanic"
Ad Agency: Scholz & Friends NRW, Dusseldorf, Germany, January, 2010.

Both of these ads "bend" the visual by presenting the Titanic as being small or miniature. In both examples, the iceberg is reduced to an ice cube. And both ads are selling the idea of watching the big blockbuster movie on a small screen (the first as a negative and the second as a positive).

Another reoccuring theme I found in recent advertising which references the Titanic refers to the famous "I'm Flying" romantic sequence from the movie.

Utopolis Group Of Cinemas, "Titanic"
Ad Agency: Duval Guillaume, Antwerp Belgium 2007.

Toys R Us, "Titanic"
Ad Agency: Volcano Advertising, Johannesburg SA, 2007.

Sanyo XactiCA8, "Titanic"
Ad Agency: Whybin TBWA Tequila, Sydney, Australia, 2008.

Suraj Electronics, "Pixels"
Ad Agency: JWT, New Dehli, India, 2010.
Credit should probably go to the first two of these as they came out in the same year. And at least the Australian one takes it underwater. In my opinion, the last one from India is the weakest of these.

I did find several other recent ads that reference the Titanic but the rationale or strategy tie-in with the product or benefit was either weak, sunk altogether or perhaps lost in translation.