From the Archives: Ad Acta*

This week I finished indexing the issues of The Trail from the 1963-1964 academic year and started on 1964-1965. One of my favorite things about my project has been looking at the ads that appeared in The Trail.

Mostly, the ads were for local businesses: jewelry shops, restaurants, clothing stores, barbers, and laundries. Most of the businesses aren’t around anymore, but some are still Tacoma staples, like:


One trend I noticed in the ads is that each week there was at least one ad for engagement and/or wedding rings for women. Those advertisements were generally placed by national companies, who were apparently banking on most or all college women to be engaged or married by the time they left college.


Like the one above, they often even included an option to get engagement and wedding planning pamphlets!

There was also at least one advertisement for NoDoz caffeine pills each week…they knew who their main market was, clearly.


Of course, there were ads for Coca Cola:

4   5

Coke was clearly trying to appeal to the younger generation with their ads. But Coke wasn’t the only beverage that was trying to make itself seem more hip with its ads in The Trail:


Yes, milk was trying to appeal to the younger generation too. Notice the similarities between the second Coke ad and the above milk ad. The milk ads also got pretty sassy: “Milk gives you a special kind of longer-lasting vitality. The kind that doesn’t fizzle out.” That seems like a definite dig at Coke. The milk ads made some other claims about milk’s “special” properties:


Seriously. The cheapest beauty treatment in the world! Just drink some milk and your skin will become flawless.

The Trail no longer contains as many advertisements, which is a bummer for the people who will come along in fifty years to look back through the issues. Those future people certainly won’t have as much fun as I have looking at all the ads!

By: Jillian Zeidner

*I was trying to come up with a punny title for this post. The phrase “ad acta” means “to the archives” in legal-ese.


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