Whether you’ve traded your old sofa on Craigslist or advertised your business and its products to the world, we’ve all had to dabble in the art of promotion at one point or another. In my experience, creativity is key, and it doesn’t get much more creative than the advertising style of 19th century banner ladies, aka, the human billboards of yesteryear.
A peculiar advertising photographic pictorial was devised during the 1870s, in which women in particular were hired by retailers to pose holding signs heralding businesses, their dresses and bodies decorated with life-size objects related to the business. Even their hairdo’s were used to hold up products for the camera.
Cabinet cards were a popular novelty of the day, particularly ones that featured glamorous theatre actresses and famous European courtesans. Banking on that trend, businesses hired unknown young women to drape in items they sold, from pretzels to light bulbs to coffin plates (as seen in the photo below).
Brings new meaning to “everything but the kitchen sink”.