Ad Boy Has Power to Bring Back Childhood Memories

New Book a Collection of Vintage Ad Icons

By Published on .

I hadn't seen him in years, the shiny-cheeked boy with blue eyes and a head of hair that may have been the inspiration for Rod Blagojevich's helmet. But there he was, on page 13 of "Ad Boy: Vintage Advertising with Character" It was Hershey Boy. Or, as I like to call him, Hydrocephalic Harry -- it looks like all that chocolate milk goes straight to that kid's cranium.

But as much as I kid Hydro, his image sent me back. I could practically feel the cool tile of the kitchen in our first house, remember grabbing the whole milk out of the fridge, climbing up on the counter for that yellow tin box. I remember carefully spooning the chocolate powder into the milk, the clink of spoon on glass, the glass falling to the floor breaking, waking up mother, "No, mother. Not the wire hanger. Please. It was an accident! No!"

Sorry. Got off track there.

At any rate, "Ad Boy" was put together by pop culture historian Warren Dotz and graphic designer Masud Husain and will be hitting bookstores in June.

The book doesn't aspire to be anything more than a photo album of ad characters from days of yore. There's no wider context, no interviews with marketers or agency creatives. And when the authors do venture into prose for more than a page (in the introduction), they run the gamut from effusive cheerleading to outright error (The Aflac Goose? A goose? Really?). I'd say the book almost reads like one of those blog-to-print jobs that simply scrape content from the web, but we're not even treated to sarcastic commentary or goofy captions.

But these faults will be easy to overlook for fans of icons and those who like to wallow in nostalgia, who'll likely be happy to see the kids (and critters and anthropomorphic weenies and gas pumps) all gathered in one place.

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