Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

The Man in the the Hathaway Shirt

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mas1851 hathaway-shirt

During a late night movie recently, I told a couple of friends that Nick Fury, the cyclopean leader of The Avengers is the modern Hathaway man. Blank stares greeted me — the Hathaway man has left modern culture references as quickly as it had entered them.

There once was a time he captivated the whole chattering classes. A brainchild of David Ogilvy, the legendary British ad-man whose name is still plastered on one of the world’s largest marketing firms, the Hathaway man promoted a New England shirt company which was both literally and figuratively starchy.

In 1951, when CF Hathaway engaged Ogilvy, the company has never advertised before; their budget was an ad-campaign ($30,000) was small compared to those of bigger American conglomerates. Wishing to do something unique, Ogilvy remembered Lewis Douglas, the American ambassador to UK, who wore an eye-patch after a fishing accident; he built the story around the eye-patch, creating an interesting narrative, and put the ad in The New Yorker. Within a week, every Hathaway shirt in whole New York was sold.

Ogilvy quipped, “For some reason I’ve never known, it made Hathaway instantly famous. Perhaps, more to the point, it made me instantly famous.” Indeed. For next two decades, subscribers to The New Yorker developed a habit of flipping through the magazine first thing to find the Hathaway ad; each week they were treated to a different story: the Hathaway man getting his mustache trimmed, composing music, playing chess, drinking wine, stepping off a plane, conducting the Philharmonic, etc. — typical activities associated with a debonair man of leisure. Appropriately, the man in the ad was Baron George Wrangell, émigré nephew of a White Russian general.

The ad quickly entered the cultural landscape. Manhattan’s James McCreery & Co. department store, advertising a “girdle,” depicted a young model clad in nothing but a girdle, a halter and an eyepatch. Nick Fury himself who debuted in 1963 perhaps owe a thing or two to the baron. And modern advertising campaigns, which shows well-heeled attractive people doing improbably daring/quirky things (Old Spice’s Smell like a Man; Dos Equis’s The Most Interesting Man in the World) share a lot of their DNA with Ogilvy’s creation.

 

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

October 16, 2015 at 5:49 am

2 Responses

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  1. That man was more British than American.  Although I saw a few of thosecommercials and can recognize the allusion, he is not all that memorable.

    From: Iconic Photos To: the_supposition@yahoo.com Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2015 10:49 PM Subject: [New post] The Man in the the Hathaway Shirt #yiv2766420020 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv2766420020 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv2766420020 a.yiv2766420020primaryactionlink:link, #yiv2766420020 a.yiv2766420020primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv2766420020 a.yiv2766420020primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv2766420020 a.yiv2766420020primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv2766420020 WordPress.com | Alex Selwyn-Holmes posted: ” During a late night movie recently, I told a couple of friends that Nick Fury, the cyclopean leader of The Avengers is the modern Hathaway man. Blank stares greeted me — the Hathaway man has left modern culture references as quickly as it had entered ” | |

    Larry DeCoster

    October 16, 2015 at 6:16 pm

  2. mantap gan perkembangan teknologi sekarang, , klw kita gak ikuti bisa ketinggalan kereta , Aerith

    Jim

    October 28, 2015 at 1:24 pm


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