A dawn at Madison Avenue

Written by New York Times | | Updated: Jun 30 2009, 07:24am hrs
Stuart Elliott

The moon may not be in the seventh house. And only an astronomer knows for sure if Jupiter has aligned with Mars. But it seems like the dawning of the age of Aquarius on Madison Avenue, as images and sounds from the 1960s become increasingly popular in advertising.

The recycling of the decade began in earnest three years ago, when Ameriprise Financial introduced ads with Dennis Hopper, a quintessential symbol of the 60s as a result of his roles in films like Easy Rider. Other marketers subsequently jumped on the flower-bedecked bandwagon, including Geico and General Mills.

The trend has accelerated recently, as evidenced by ads from these marketers:

The Macys division of Macys Inc is selling clothing and footwear for younger men and women in a campaign carrying the theme summer of love.

The phrase was also heard in commercials on ABC, part of the Walt Disney Co, reminding viewers to watch The Bachelorette. The spots proclaimed, One lucky girls summer of love begins.

Ads for another retailer, Childrens Place, depict youngsters in red, white and blue apparel standing before peace symbols. Show your true colors, the ads declare.

As part of a series that reprints ads from past decades, Brooks Brothers, owned by Retail Brand Alliance, is rerunning in newspapers an ad from the 60s showing an American flag above the headline One country, one destiny.

Some of the ads stretch the metaphor a bit. For instance, ads for the Procter & Gamble brand Luvs depict cartoon babies, brandishing protest signs and staging a demonstration.