When Print Advertising Was King

During the Heyday of Ivy, J. Press featured a resolute advertising program of print ads that regularly adorned the top of Page Two or Three in the New York Times and the Herald Tribune. The same ads were posted simultaneously in the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, New Haven Register along with prep school and college yearbooks and including Yale Daily News, Yale Record, Harvard Crimson, Harvard Lampoon and Daily Dartmouth.

No advertising agency ever encroached our homemade endeavor. Irving Press, Yale Law ’26, wrote with wicked pen ably assisted by John Norey (described in previous column) setting up and pasting the copy and local merchandise pics shot at Kravitz Wedding Portrait Shop on Chapel Street. J. Press patron and universally admired advertising tycoon David Ogilvy once advised Irving Press, “Don’t change a thing. You are precisely following my advertising maxim, the more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be.”

Our magazine roster included GQ and Esquire thanks to the efforts of David O’Brasky, Publisher of both magazines and another grandson of Jacobi Press. With all due respect to my cousin David, the most prominent J. Press advertisements appeared in The New Yorker providing the biggest oomph.

William Shawn, editor 1951-1987, headed the sophisticated magazine playing to a readership that epitomized the buttoned down, natural shoulder clientele targeted by J. Press and its competitors. The honor roll included Brooks Brothers, Abercrombie & Fitch, F.R. Tripler, Paul Stuart, Chipp, Fenn-Feinstein, Haspel, Gant, Sero, Norman Hilton, and Hathaway. My favorite Peter Arno cartoon catering to the elite New Yorker audience depicts a gross capitalist on the sidewalk cheering a Yale Moving Company truck, “Boola Boola.”

Indeed the pleasure of traditional print enhanced by realistic color photos in the current semi-annual J. Press brochures keep the home fires burning. My weekly digital froth of OCBD 3-button gossip keeps the tradition of my long ago college day contributions to Dart Magazine alive.

Biographer Neal Gabler noted in his chrestomathy of mid-20th century gossip columnist Walter Winchell, “The gossip column endures and even now proliferates by no means less engagingly but altogether more respectably.”

The beat goes on.




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