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1930's AGA advertising

Aga advert 1930's

The above image is a very early advert by David Ogilvy, probably the most famous 'ad man' in the world, for Aga range cookers. It was not very successful nor did he regard it very highly but my word isn't it ambitious! The sheer confidence to try this, to try knowing failure was possible or even likely.

There is nearly as much art history in the text as mentions of the cooker itself!

Even more interesting is the decision to make the central message of the advert that Aga range cookers were good enough for army officers and therefore good enough for you! This was the mid-1930's during appeasement and less than 20 years since the end of the Great War. Not a time of great military fervour in much of the country. Was this part of the failure of the advert or is it just too obtuse?

You have to read quite closely to pick up the message and the final words

"Every day more people are realising that cooks with records of good conduct and long service have earned their promotion - to an Aga."

are not Mr Ogilvy's finest work! Despite all this though I love this advert more than any I have found thus far for Aga range cookers. An original of this, cut from some indeterminate 1930's magazine, hangs in my kitchen framed for posterity! I love the convivial atmosphere.

Aga range cooker advertising over the years is a source of continual fascination. It reveals so much about the changes in society and I'll feature more in coming weeks! 

Don't miss the locations noted below the advert, I would love to know how many AGAs Walker & Greig were selling in Columbo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka)! The only trace of Walker & Greig to be found now is the advert below from the 'Ceylon Tea Planters Notebook' published in 1902-3. Preserved for posterity by the University of Chicago if you'd like to read it! The company obviously survived nearly 40 years after publication of the notebooks. I wonder when they started selling AGAs and when they stopped?! 

Walker & Greig advert 1901-2

Matthew Bates

Matthew Bates

Matthew is from a farming family near Bath and a graduate of King's College London who decided not to follow the 'standard' path into banking or the law. He has been working with these fabulous cookers in some form or another since 2003. Matthew runs Blake and Bull from beautiful Bradford on Avon, near Bath. Alf the golden retriever makes sure the working day finishes at 6pm sharp - dog walk time!