Adages: Reading, and flipping through picture books, is fundamental

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What a surprise! There once was a trade title called Advertising Arts-the first issue came out in 1930. Adages discovered this while thumbing through our latest Adages Book Club Selection, "Merz to Emigre: Avant-Garde Magazine Design of the Twentieth Century", by Steven Heller, art director of The New York Times Book Review.

"Merz" is another fabulous, bulky, generously illustrated Phaidon Press product that mercifully keeps the academic blather to a minimum. "Merz" was the name of a very arty movement coined by a famous Swiss dadaist (no yawning please) and the word meant absolutely nothing. Now that's the kind of stuff worth reading!

Mr. Heller's book is a kaleidoscopic head trip through a catalog of beautiful and bizarre magazine covers, with illustrations by the likes of Joan Miro, Honore Daumier, Aleksandr Rodchenko and John Holmstrom, founder of Punk magazine. He covers everything from el corno emplumado, a Mexican surrealist pub, to OZ, the loutish British/Australian title where Maxim macher Felix Dennis cut his teeth, to more contemporary stuff, like The East Village Other, Sniffin Glue, Spy Magazine, Emigre and Raygun. This book is a must have for all agency creatives who either dream of starting their own `zine or have ambitions to custom publish one for a big-time client.

As for Advertising Arts, it began as a monthly supplement of a weekly trade called Advertising and Selling, was spun off shortly afterward and folded in 1939. It was famous for its modernist look and its provocative editorial policy. "In Advertising Arts' first issue," Mr. Heller writes, "the editors featured `The Bolshevik Billboard' as a possible direction that should be taken by capitalist advertising agencies." Those were the days!

Pass the grits, pardner

Philip Morris is coming to Long Island this weekend to throw a "Marlboro Cowboy Breakfast" event. "Smokers who are 21 and older get a personal invitation to join Marlboro on a Saturday or Sunday at a steakhouse for a free Western breakfast, including steak, eggs, pancakes, hash browns, bacon and coffee," says a spokesman, who points out that the high-cholesterol grub is the kind of "hearty, Western-style breakfast" that one can find in the "Marlboro Cook Book," a freebie also for loyal smokers. (That was "hearty" not "heart-stopping.")

Unfortunately, one cannot suck on lung-clogging ciggies in between bites of artery-clogging red meat, because the venue will be at a high-end steakhouse where smoking is not permitted. The location is being kept secret because it's invitation-only, says the spokesman. "The event is designed to show appreciation to loyal Marlboro smokers," he explains. Adages has learned that the breakfast will take place at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse , Garden City, N.Y., on July 12, 13, 19 and 20.

I can't wait

Carlton Donofrio Partners, a small ad shop in Baltimore, just produced pro-bono spots for the Campaign for Our Children featuring music video-like footage of teenage boys chanting "We will wait. We will save ourselves. Wait!" And in a second spot, sexy girls dance jiggy-like and sing, "You have the power to wait." The idea, of course, is that these good boys and girls are going to wait before they start having sex. That's right, it's an abstinence campaign, probably one of the first of its kind. (The client is not talking contraceptives, they're talking about not doing the deed at all.) According to an agency spokesman, the girls portion of the campaign will be extended into radio and print, but not the boys, since the agency believes the message will have more traction with women.

Here's a thought:

"It is infinitely helpful to realize that in advertising, as in life, there is no grand road map that everyone is privy to except you. We are all muddling forward, through the fog." From "The Creative Companion" a new chapbook by David Fowler, creative guru at Ogilvy & Mather, published by his employer.

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