So, a big THANK YOU for eveyone who shared their memories about the fat camps, boarding schools of questionable repute, and get-rich-quick schemes that Seventeen was trying to sell to the impressionable teens of 1978. They were a blast to read! This week…
…We’ll look at the one last category of back-of-the-book advertising: insane personalized merchandise.
“Next to nude” swimwear is pretty racy for an “authentic competition” suit, but I am waaaaaaay more interested in the “Hi Sign”, because a ping-pong paddle that says “Same to you, turkey!” is definitely something I would use EVERY DAY:
Also, do we need to talk about the Superstar shirt with a sneaker applique with its own shoelace? Or can we let that go?
So a few things on the next page. First, those photo-reprint ads will run FOREVER, you can never have enough bargain-basement wallet photos to give to your friends and admirers. But seriously, shell out the extra dollar and order directly from Eastman Kodak, Rocheseter, NY.
The wedding invitations are another indication that Seventeen was courting an older demographic in 1978.
The “Short People Are Great” shirt/poster seems a little on the nose, but I definitely want a custom shirt with my own dumb face on it!
Ok, fasten your seatbelts, because everything on the next page is so tacky that I want to build a time machine just to go back in time and buy literally every single thing:
Starting with that Star Wars charm bracelet that even on the printed page looks like it is going to turn your wrist green in about 5 minutes.
Which I shall wear with the crop top with vulgar sayings printed on it:
I’m thinking I’d go with “30 Day Guarantee,” but can somebody enlighten me what “Stroft” is slang for? Really I am disappointed there isn’t one that says “Feminist Jerk”.
And don’t forget to accessorize with glamorous nail decals that spell out EL-VIS:
But I really feel like you shouldn’t let on which nail is your Bionic Nail. That should remain a surprise.
Jumping ahead two decades, here are a few select looks at what Seventeen shilling to teens in 1994:
I mean, that ad was running verbatim in comic books of the era, and some of that clip art probably hadn’t been updated since the 1940s. Sea Monkeys! Blackhead guns! Spy cameras! Friendship necklaces! Honestly I am kind of digging the “Soho Style” sunglasses, though. I would wear those.
Sooooo…. how much do you think he spent taking out an ad to promote his obviously self-published book/book on tape?
LIMITED EDITION!!!! What kind of original music do you think it is? I feel like the expression says “Christian Contemporary” but those sideburns are giving away a neo-Rockabilly influence.
Speaking of approachable male gazes, check out baby Brad Pitt:
I would like to point out that in 1994 he blew up with Legends of the Fall, and was sporting a totally different look that included far less visible lipstick. Was Movie Market an early adopter of Brad and had been running this ad forever? Or do you think they bought a bunch of Pringles commercial-era Brad headshots and was peddling them cheap?
And speaking of shady self-publishing…
Anybody want to fess up to entering this? I feel like I should award a prize for anyone willing to admit they shelled out for the handsome leather-bound anthology.
And finally, I leave you with this:
OBVIOUSLY I want to hear about these Magical Male Grabbers, but I am kind of distracted by the photo, which appears to show a construction worker holding a satchel full of sandwiches. Is that one of the things guys don’t want me to know? Is it something about his secret sandwich stash?
So again, I now ask you Constant Readers, to share in the comments if you ever ordered anything from the back of Seventeen, or any other teen mag or comic book. Did it live up to the promises? Or was it more of a Milo Venus situation?