Artistic Creativity: British Posters and Print Advertising during the 1970s

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The British advertising industry, during the 1970s experienced a creative revolution, which was inspired by that of the 1960s American advertising industry. This creative revolution was started by a number of British owned advertising agencies that became known as new wave agencies. These agencies included Collett Dickenson Pearce, Boase Massimi Pollitt and Saatchi and Saatchi. Prior to the emergence of these new wave agencies, all of the larger advertising agencies were American owned and practised a less imaginative form of advertising, that was either authoritarian or instructive or hard sell. The advertisements produced by the new wave agencies were very different and sought to entertain their audience, by ‘growing more allusive, more oblique … and more witty, pretty and fun’ (Fletcher, 1988). This paper aims to identify and account for the visual rhetoric of poster and print advertisements produced by these new wave agencies, by understanding their conditions of production. It is contended that these new wave agencies changed the working practices of the 1970s advertising industry and by so doing, modified the visual rhetoric of poster and print advertisements. These changes are seen as responsive to a set of specific cultural and socio-economic changes unique to the time.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVariety in Mass Communication Research
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2009


  • poster and print advertising
  • british creativity
  • 1970s


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