PCO Procartoonists – The power of images

August 24, 2007 in General

The BBC magazine has produced an interesting piece on family board games from World War 2. When you read the piece and look at the games, they were clearly no more than thinly disguised political propaganda.

At the time these were made, sold and distributed, the government, who encouraged their production, was clearly, keenly aware of the power that drawn cartoon and comic imagery had as an attractive sales device.

Presumably, BLOGHORN thinks, the power of what professional artists do, has not changed in the intervening 60 years, but the context in which art with a message can be used has clearly changed a very great deal. What do you think?

2 responses to PCO Procartoonists – The power of images

  1. Yes, drawn art is an extremely powerful tool for commercial and political purposes. All through the 60s and 70s,some of the more memorable TV ads (commercial and government information) were cartoons, and even made it into the 90s with the Red Bull and sprite ads. A brief look at a magazine ca 1950s will reveal a bounty of beautifully drawn cartoon style ads.

    Further afield, just look at how much effort went into the (rather beautiful) propaganda poster art of the Mao and Stalin regimes.

    Why so little cartoon art in advertising now? Fashion, I suspect. The wonders of Photoshop will pall eventually.

  2. The BBC article – and the associated comments are very interesting. I think cartooning is still being used in a similar way. Not for board games – they are not was popular now, but still as propaganda.

    WWII was out and out bloody war, with obvious opposing groups and personalities to demean and ridicule. I can understand why cartooning was used to this effect, and I can imagine that I would have been party to it had I been living through the conflict. Reading about it now made me cringe though.

    There are conflicts going on now and I see cartoons being used to stir up patriotic feeling by making fun of the “opposition” whoever that is preceived to be. I think if a similarly desperate situation to WWII arose (God forbid), cartoons would come to the fore again as a means of stirring up the population and promoting solidarity.

    Regarding cartoon art in advertising, you may find more than you realised involved in youth culture. It dawned on me later than it should have, how big a business popular music has become. Music videos are big and there are quite a few notable cartoon videos amongst them. Off the top of my head I can think of Gorillaz, whose images are particularly memorable as videos and for merchandising.

    Take a look at the TV music stations themselves. MTV and others make great use of very simple chartoon characters and situations, both still and animated.

    Cartoon markets are changing and I don’t pretend to be on top of it, but you’ve got me thinking. I’m going to be looking at advertising a bit more closely.

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