Sep 24 2011: Advertising from Pakistan Year Book 1969 (National Publishing House, 1969)
This gallery of adverts is taken from the pages at the beginning and end of the Pakistan Year Book (1969), a publication packed with statistics and information pressing the relatively new nation state’s claims to late sixties modernity. To this end, questions of culture and other key matters play a supporting role to many pages of photographs of tractors, chemical plants, power stations, dams and other heavy infrastructure projects, which take their place here as the symbols of progress and development. It’s an interesting glimpse of a moment when the state was vigorously presenting itself as increasingly Westernised, something the advertising that evidently financed the publication makes abundantly clear, as the pages turn and the presences of European and American corporations make themselves very much felt among the more distinctively local enterprises.
The gallery here, in fact, is only part one of what will become three posts devoted to this particular publication.
About the same number of adverts again remain to be scanned, and the editorial pages – introduced with a foreword by Pakistan’s then President, Mohammad Ayub Khan – are themselves full of intriguing images that seem worth preserving, too. There are interesting parallels between this publication and others (such as the GDR booklet of Jochen Weyer, Soviet Union magazine and the Time-Life books on scientific and industrial subjects) featured in earlier posts. The representation of BP Sweets as bait to a trio of children is certainly a bit unsettling: a similar unease surfaces when we find ourselves contemplating the corporate motto “We do not claim to create life…but where there is life there is ICI“ and the blurring of product and model where the copyline “Lovely to look at and a joy to own” appears above the Democrat Transistor Radio.