Dr. Seuss, Ad Man

August 13, 2012

Before Theodor Seuss Geisel made a name for himself as the author and illustrator of many beloved children’s books, he paid the bills as an ad man. And even then, he signed his work as the now famous Dr. Seuss. (That pen name, by the way, was initially inspired by a pseudonym he took on after getting busted drinking gin in his college dorm room. My kinda guy.)

I thoroughly enjoyed flipping through this Fast Company slideshow showing off 20 or so examples of Dr. Seuss’s handiwork as arguably the world’s most kick-ass ad artist. Every one is immediately identifiable as a Seuss-tastic work of art. When you pair his unmistakable artistic style with the quaint approach of many mid-20th century ads, you get some good material.

Here are a few of my faves from the Fast Company piece:

This got me thinking: What if other children’s book authors/illustrators turned to advertising to make a few (more) bucks?

You could have enjoyed ads by Maurice Sendak, author of “Where the Wild Things Are,” perhaps touting the benefits of a powerful hair-growth cream (seems like something out of Seuss’s era, no?):

Sandra Boynton, author of many rhyme-filled board books, perhaps could have been hired by the manufacturer of mood altering prescription drugs:

The winner, of course, would be Shel Silverstein, author of “The Giving Tree.” Not only is this one of the most recognizable children’s books in all the land, but Shel has already given license to some brilliant manufacturer to make not an actual ad but one of the most awesomest bits of gadget-personalization gear you’ll ever see (this is a real thing):