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Retro Futurism in The Advertising Industry

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Science fiction is one of the ways in which man showcased his imagination and creativity when it comes to envisioning the future. This includes stories and narratives about space exploration, alien life, artificial intelligence, and cities powered by the greatest technologies that the human mind can realize. In the field of creative arts, there is a movement to capture the spirit of envisioning the future of previous generations through their art. This art movement is found its way into advertisements from various companies and organizations around the world.

Trends of Retrofuturism

When it comes to retrofuturism, there are two main trends. The first one is the depiction of a future that is envisioned by people from the past generations. This trend can be traced back to the intellectual and creative minds of the 1960s, its writers, filmmakers, and artists. This trend of retrofuturism is a product of the science fiction of the decade where intellectual minds are concerned about predicting the future and its possible existing technologies.

The other main trend in retrofuturism is art created from reflections of what the past would look like as depicted in the minds of people from the future. This futuristic retro art mode is concerned with portraying the old-school appeal of vintage clothing, art, and social mores. A popular version of this second trend is Steampunk fashion and art where the gleam and glamour of a technology-governed future are traded for a renewal of the Victorian age – complete with the period’s greatest innovations and fashion sense.

Great Examples of Retrofuturist Ads

Being inspired by the artistic sensibilities and themes of retrofuturism, enticing advertisements from the past decades have used the art movement to create unique and memorable posters.

  • One of them is Japan’s Sanwa Bank whose ads lean on the promise of a “cashless future” through mainly card transactions. For this purpose, the bank used the retrofuturist aesthetic for their 1970s campaign for credit cards.
  • Another company from East Asia who has leaned on the appeal of retrofuturism is Sony, who used the elements of 1960s advertisements effectively to highlight their company’s reputation for producing cutting-edge technology. The poster consists of a blonde woman holding an old-fashioned version of a Sony television with the caption “hold the future in your hand with Sony.”
  • Car posters from the 1960s and 1970s in America were rife with the influence of the Space Age – when everyone was preoccupied with the space race between Russia and America. Science fiction also encouraged the wonders of rockets, spaceships, and the exploration of space as a new frontier. Real manufactured cars were made with this fascination with space travel in mind as reflected by posters from the period. The ads portrayed vehicles in the form of rocketships or a stunning background of planets and stars.
  • Other advertisements, including whiskey ads and aircraft companies, highlighted their products and services’ future-forwardness by painting their vision for the future.
  • Designs of high-tech helicopters as couriers for cargo and shiny buildings made up of glass were portrayed in their advertisements.
  • Other companies promised effort-saving inventions like various, futuristic appliance designs for dishwashing.