Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fairy Tales in Advertising

Fairy tales are regularly employed in advertising. In fact, if you think about it, fairy tales work in very similar ways to advertising, although they seek to sell ideals and aspiration, rather than the products and services that we might associate with such desires.

Indeed, there is so much fairy tale in advertising, it could generate books upon books of study.

While it's not really my area of research, over the last couple of weeks, I became intrigued by 19th century trade cards that utilise fairy tale. The illustrations are beautiful and recently I obtained such a card promoting "Donkeyskin."



I had completely forgotten that Donkeyskin hitches her carriage to a large sheep in order to visit her godmother. It's such a wonderful and strange image. Underlying the tale itself is a story of consumerism. In order to frustrate her father's incestuous desires, Donkeyskin is advised to ask for gowns, each more incredible and expensive than the last, until finally she requests the skin of the donkey that supplies the wealth of the kingdom and runs away with it. Her godmother ensures that she retains her rich wardrobe for the princess will require it to make her new start in life.

In this case, "Donkeyskin" is being utilised to promote a sale.





I'm rather relieved that it appears no donkeys had been harmed for this sale. You can even find out a little about the store on Wikipedia (here).

I'm keeping my eyes open for additional interesting cards.