March 18, 1979: I want to be like Big Bill
Years before athletes endorsed everything from underwear to cars, we didn’t see many big time athletes shilling for products. No one yet wanted to “Be Like Mike,” as the “Hey Kid, Catch!” ad featuring Mean Joe Green was just starting to catch on.
Enter this 1979 ad from the Bradford-White Corporation, which features William “Big Bill” Tilden II, a tens great during the 1920s through 1940s. It’s not often you see a company’s ad man being someone who was already deceased for nearly 25 years, but this is part of the reason why we absolutely love the 1970s.
October 15, 1978: A new era for a great association
Now known as one of the premier associations for contractors in the U.S., the Air Conditioning Contractors of America wasn’t always known as the same name. In this Oct. 15, 1978 edition of Contractor Magazine, we get an early peak at the roll out for the ACCA’s name.
Previously, the organization was known as the National Environmental Systems Contractors Association (NESCA). This may have been a bit of a mouthful; we’re glad to see the clean cut look and sound of the ACCA in 2014.
October 15, 1977: Tell us where to stick it
One thing that is a very clear difference between the 1970s and the 2010s is the level of political correctness you might find in the copy of advertisements. In this Tyler Pipe ad, the message “Tell us where to stick it and we’ll show you what you can do with it” may not play well with every reader. Even so, it still makes us laugh today and we hope it does the same for you. Otherwise, please cover your eyes until the next slide.
October 15, 1976: A bit flowery
If you’re blinded by looking at this picture, we’re very sorry. While the ad copy in this Mor-Flo Industries, Inc. is something you may find in the pages of Contractor Magazine in 2014, the big string of flowers taking up most of the page is something that very clearly belongs in 1976.
Contractor, June 15, 1974: Learn from the tape
Some of our younger readers may not recognize the items featured in this advertisement from Armstrong Machine Works. The company was selling video cassette tapes to North American representatives. This is about 40 years before YouTube came into existence.
Interestingly, the issue these videos discussing is one very appropriate for 2014; how to avoid wasting fuel with dwindling energy reserves. In 2014, you may attend a webinar or watch some online videos for tips on how to cut back and save energy. In 1974? Well, you had to send away for some video tapes.
Contractor, June 15, 1973: POW!
The psychedelic colors. The Adam-West-as-Batman-esque use of “POW!” The phrase “powder room.” Everything about this 1973 ad from American Standard screams “THE 1970’s!”
“Once consumers see the dazzling decorator look they can create they won’t be able to resist going for the pair,” the American Standard ad said. “And they’ll enjoy the true beauty of these colors for years to come.”
These days, a quick browse of the American Standard website will show you that their days of bright yellow colors are decades in the past, as the company goes with a more sleek, 2014 look.
Contractor, April 15, 1972- A self-raising toilet seat
Fellas, have you been looking to upset that special lady in your life with a simple installation? Take a look at this 1972 ad from the Beneke Corporation for a self-raising toilet seat. For years, women have begged men to put the seat down when they’re done in the bathroom. This seat will have none of that!
Likely built for another time and place entirely, when most offices were dominated by men, the Beneke self-raising seat design gave males the ultimate opportunity for laziness. It may not be practical in 2014, but it sure is fun to look at.
Contractor, April 1, 1971- A look at yesterday’s tomorrow
The look of the outdoors is in! Or at least it was back in 1971. No, this is not an April Fool’s Day-related ad, people in the ‘70s actually did like avocado color sinks and blue bathtubs. It almost looks comical today, especially with the green bell-bottomed, brown-vested logo at the bottom of the ad, but Kohler is still keeping up with trends and going strong today. This is a true testament to the company’s ability to try new things.
Contractor, Feb 15, 1970- Breaking the 48-hour barrier
The world was a bit bigger in the 1970s. Getting to customers and shipping products took a lot of time, energy and effort. Take a look at this ad from Amoco Chemicals, Industrial Products Division, where they looked to speed things up a bit by stating their goal of opening more plants, warehouses and people to be “48 hours from everywhere with every type of plastic pipe and fitting.”
A thing we love from this picture? The VERY 1970’s number 7 ½ basketball jersey and thick-rimmed glasses combo.