Back in the day, we didn’t send in ad materials via email, and we certainly couldn’t tweak the headline or correct a typo ten minutes before sending it in.
This is a photo of an ad proof from 1998.
Magellan Laboratories was the client (now a part of Catalent). And this ad was most likely sent in to Pharmaceutical Technology or BioPharm – both pharma industry pubs that have been around for more than a few years.
Back then the art director would work up the files for the ad and send them in to a print house that would create a proof. Markups were marked on transparency taped over the proof, and we looked with painstaking detail at the colors, coverage and layout. Because exactly what was in the proof, was exactly what would be printed in the magazine.
After multiple proofing rounds, including client approvals and sign-offs, we would ship the final via FedEx to the publication for printing.
Each individual ad took weeks to get right, and that was AFTER the copy and layout direction were already planned out. We typically worked about three months out – meaning that since this ad proof is dated 4/29/98, it probably would run in the July or August issue.
It’s fun to go back and look through the archives some times. It’s also fun to remember how different things were only a few years ago. The advertising world has changed, but the basics of good strategy, design and writing will always be the constants.