Friday, February 11, 2011

Arty Farty Friday ~ Leonetto Cappiello, "Father of Advertising".

If we could go back in time, find the "father of advertising" and tie his hands behind his back so's he couldn't father advertising further, would we do it?

Advertising has a lot to answer for. We might blame "the big banks" for recent financial crises and woes, but without advertising, would so many people who couldn't sensibly afford to own property and sundry other luxuries have been convinced they needed to own them?

Setting that thought aside for a moment - here IS the artist some have called Father of Advertising - or at least father of the advertising poster: Leonetto Cappiello.

Back in the day advertising was far more leisurely and minimalist than in these days of manic TV commercials one following another, and massive billboards lining highways, magazines filled cover to cover with more adverts than essays. Back in the day an artist would paint a poster.

Leonetto Cappiello, Italian artist and caricaturist succeeded other famous painters of the genre such as Lautrec and Mucha and became the leading advertising poster designer in Paris in the early 20th century. He was not formally trained as an artist, but his natural talent led him into caricature, his work was published in the French journal Le Rire.

As Art Nouveau and the taste for it began its decline, Cappiello tickled the palates of the public with his dark, often black, backgrounds and a single bold image. This new approach kept attention on the product as well as creating a very recognisable style, or brand, for the artist himself. His early flair for, and experience in, caricature work would be helpful in developing an obvious insight into human nature and the power of communication. He put this insight to use in his advertising posters, realising that the attention-grabbing images he presented would rapidly become recognisably associated with a particular product.

Cappiello produced close to 1000 posters, became an inspirational figure to those who came after. His work nowadays is sought after by collectors and still commands high prices.

Leonetto Cappiello was born in Livorno, Italy on 9 April 1975. Chart below is set for 12 noon in the absence of time of birth. Rising sign and Moon's degree will not be accurate.

In a nutshell, Leonetto Cappiello had a well-integrated personality, with planets forming helpful aspects to each other, along with the few challenges having complimentary assistance inbuilt.

Starting with Sun at 19 Aries (Aries the initiator is a nice match for someone called "Father of Advertising"), there's an astrological chain covering half the zodiac circle. Moving via helpful semi-sextile to Mercury (communication) at 23 Pisces, then on to Saturn (business) at 23 Aquarius via another semi-sextile, and Mars (energy) at 26 Sagittarius, also sextile Saturn, then Jupiter (publication) at 27 Libra, sextile Mars and in opposition to Aries Sun.
a chain of links involving planets well-related to things necessary for success in Cappiello's chosen profession: initiation, communication, business, publication.

Not part of that linked and mutually helpful chain was Venus, planet of the arts at 7Pisces, but Venus forms a separate link via harmonious sextile with Neptune (creativity) at 0 Taurus.

Examples of Leonetto Cappiello posters ~


Gian Paul said...

This is a fun post, Twilight. And Cognac (my horse) liked it too. Why? I had noticed that he preferred a food supplement from Ralston Purina, "Western" over other, Brazilian brands. So I tried to find out and bought some other brands (same price range) he so far had not tasted. As I was back from town, and after reading your post, I proceeded for him to taste the new samples - and, as before, "Western" was what he prefers.

I remember that I had bought "Western" for him as a publicity in the shop had convinced me that it might be good for my horse. A tall cowboy-women, very atractive, on the packaging...

And then your blog post of today featuring Leonetto Capiello's posters, mostly some attractive ladies, as Purina must have imagined as well.

I remember from my days at Castrol (all marketing/publicity driving that business, their lubricants being practically the same as other brands) that at some stage the question came up if it would not be interesting to use some female theme for making new propaganda. The answer was no, the argument being that who buys a premium oil probably is in love with his car and should not be disturbed in that "relationship".

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~~ Ah yes, I can see that Cognac is a very discerning horse! He's probably dreaming of that cowgirl on the feed package right now.

I've just looked through the pages of Cappiello poster illustrations
at Google Image and notice that around 90% of them are for alcohol or things to eat - or to smoke.

When forced to watch commercial TV channels we often remark how the majority of adverts nowadays are for various types of insurance, or cars/trucks, or fast food (burgers etc.) or most ridiculous ones of all - pharmaceuticals. And we surmise that that is where the most profit is made - national or local TV adverts do not come cheaply, I'm sure.

I don't know whether males have become immune to females illustrated in adverts by now.
I suspect its not as potent a draw as it used to be, in these days of
looser morals and skimpier clothing. :-)

Now I come to think of it, the two truck ads we see regularly (local dealers) both feature rugged guys - one has my favourite voiceover (deep, manly voice of Sam Elliott). Another car ad has the lovely voice of a favourite actor, James Spader doing the narration. So marketing has managed to capture male and female attention!

I'm a knockover for a good voice!


Wisewebwoman said...

I think I mentioned the interesting documentary on "Mad Men" DVDs about the advent of advertising featuing Cappiello and the cigarette advertising particularly to women.
Fascinating stuff.
If he hadn't done it others would have. Barnum said it first.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~~ I think you have mentioned Mad Men, yes. We'll get around to acquiring/renting the DVDs one of these days. It seems to have been a popular series - though its theme didn't immediately appeal to us.

Yes, as you say, others would have done it if he hadn't - some already had started, in smaller ways (Alphonse Mucha and Lautrec). Cappiello developed the genre one stage further, then the bandwagon really started to roll.

Barnum, I guess, was doing it earlier, though without putting brush to canvas (as it were).

Way, way back all merchants had to help them sell their wares were those lovely dangling signs outside their stores. Still a few around in such places as The Shambles in York. In some ways I wish we could go back to that, just for a breather from it all.