“Point-of-purchase materials are those created specifically to engage the consumer at the point of sale. Point-of-purchase is an advertising method in itself. It has its own means of expression, its own restrictions, and an unlimited potential for growth and expression.
“The expansion of self-service stores and the resulting change in consumer buying habits have contributed to the development of point-of-purchase materials. Their importance have increased with the growth of retailing and the needs of mass marketing. More often than not, unplanned buying decisions are made in the store, and the effective display of merchandise is the deciding factor in the consumer’s choice.
“It is in the retail store, away from the mass media, that the consumer and advertiser confront each other — the advertiser with product, the consumer with money. The results are immediately discernible.”
– Harvey Offenhartz, “Point-Of-Purchase Design” (1968)
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One hundred million Americans have never flown, have never been inside an airplane, are not aware of the advantages and pleasures of flying. American Airlines has developed an exhibit, called the Astrosphere, to reach this audience where it is most accessible, at the shopping center.
Inside the Astrosphere a theater was designed to resemble the interior of an American Airlines 707 Astrojet. The seats, although set eight across as in airliners of the future, are duplicates of 707 seating. The visitors strap themselves into the seats, put on headsets, and watch a twelve-minute film about travel across America, including a pilot’s eye view of both the landing and take-off. Stewardesses assist visitors. and travel literature is provided in seat pockets located in front of the passengers. This on-ground pre-conditioning of prospective passengers cannot help but stimulate their desire for air travel. Conservative American estimates fore-cast two million actual visitors to the Astrosphere and ten million people who will have seen it.
The Astrosphere is the largest dual-walled, air-inflated unit ever built. It has aproximately 6000 square feet of usable space, over half of which is used for visitor traffic flow and exhibit areas. Carried in four forty-foot vans, it can be set up in three hours.
The interior view shows the 128-seat theater in the center of the Astrosphere.
The cutaway model shows the plan of the Astrosphere. In the area outside the theater are exhibits by American Express Company, Hertz Rent-a-Car, Holiday Inns of America, and Texaco. all showing the relationship of these companies to travel. Domestic travel is promoted in keeping with the Discover America program established by President Johnson. Flags surrounding the sphere are of the 50 states.
The American Airlines example of marketing at shopping centers to reach the consumer directly will inevitably be further developed by other companies. Shopping centers may soon become small world’s fairs as marketers continue to cut the distance, be it physical or conceptual, between their product and the consumer.
– “Point Of Purchase Design,” by Harvey Offenhartz (1968)
At first glance, I thought these postcards might be German in origin, proud souvenirs sent home by an occupying army. But the scenes are too stark, too bleak. There are no triumphant soldiers posing among the ruins or harassing the remaining population. Besides, they’re not in German. A search for “Fot. J. Mizerski,” however, revealed that these cards are from just after the end of hostilities, before the rebuilding; before any commemorative anti-war monuments could be erected.
Similar examples of Mizerski’s work pop up in collectors catalogs, but I was unable to find out much about him. (Perhaps a better informed visitor can help fill in the gaps.) But just because extensive research is out of scope for this post doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate these images for what they are: beautiful work that any photographer would be rightly proud of. I’m afraid we can’t say the same for his subject.
More about Warsaw: