The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

May 7, 2009

Out-of-Context Ad Solution: Tuning In and Dropping Out are Optional

Filed under: Advertising, Recycled Newspaper — Brian Lutz @ 3:15 pm

As you can see above, last week’s out-of-context ad featured this very Sixties-looking family which seems to have a suspiciously large set of plans enveloping their home, a development many of us might find a bit disconcerting.  These people seem oddly unconcerned about the whole thing though, apparently being too preoccupied by the funny pages to really notice.  But what exactly would this ad be trying to sell?  The full advertisement is posted after the jump.

This particular ad comes from Puget Sound Power and Light, more commonly known as  Puget Power at the time  (but was renamed to Puget Sound Energy in 1998 when it merged with Washington Natural Gas.)  Since a company like this really doesn’t have the option of expanding their market (after all, their customers generally aren’t going to have the option to bolt to some other electric company if they don’t like the service,) their advertising is generally focused on finding new and exciting ways to get people to use more electricity (which, of course, you probably couldn’t get away with today.)  This means that throughout the years, there is actually quite a bit of advertising for Puget Power.


Here is a particularly striking example of a Puget Sound Power and Light ad I came across in a 1925 East Side Journal, touting the newly constructed Lower Baker Dam (PDF link), an 18-story tall dam on the Baker River near the town of Concrete in Skagit County.  This dam (along with the larger Upper Baker Dam a few miles upstream) continues to operate today, and is touted in the ad as providing 60,000 horsepower worth of generating capacity.  I’m not sure what that would translate to in megawatts, but at the dam’s current capacity it is capable of  generating up to 79 megawatts of power.  Last October, PSE was granted a 50-year renewal of its license to continue operation of the dam, and has also recently added a new $50 million surface collector system to capture juvenile salmon for transport to a release point below the dams (although in reality it’s a lot more complicated than that, as shown in the video available on this page.)

Image credit:  Skagit Information Management Systems, via Flickr

Image credit: Skagit Information Management Systems, via Flickr (Creative Commons License)

 Here is a photo of the dam as it appears today.  Not quite as imposing as the ad above seems to make it look (the trees surrounding it seem to be fairly large though,) but still quite large.  The Live Maps birds-eye view of the area also provides a good look at the dam.

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