Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nowhere but in Mosselprom!

Nowhere but in Mosselprom
A. Rodchenko, V. Mayakovsky, 1925

This is one of the most significant Soviet advertising posters ever. This is a result of a collaboration between Vladimir Maykovsky – who was the most noted poet of the twenties, and Alexander Rodchenko – one of the founders of Constructivism movement. Together they created many works for Mosselprom, including not only graphics and slogans, but also advertising concepts along with promotion techniques unique for the time.

Mosselprom was a huge trust, which united flour-grinding, confectionary, chocolate, beer and tobacco factories. It was situated in a big house (pictured on the poster), which was one of the highest buildings in Moscow. The eleven-storey building was constructed before the revolution, but a part of it collapsed in 1913 due to flaws in building technology. The Bolsheviks restored it completely and gave it to Mosselprom. The administration of the trust occupied the upper floors, and the warehouses took the basement and the lower floors. The entrance to the wholesale warehouses was at the back.

By 1925 Mayakovsky was writing slogans for a great deal of Mosselprom’s products and Mosselprom itself. “Nowhere but in Mosselprom” phrase was brilliant, as many products were scare, so every customer knew where to look for in the first place. Mayakovsky and Rodchenko didn’t stop with that. They created the design for the Mosselprom building. This was a great idea, because all the shop owners were coming to wholesale depot in the building and saw the impressive artwork there. This was not an ordinary building graphics – the slogans and the color patterns were functional and attractive at the same time utilizing the building structure to make the impression. The products were grouped to form catchphrases thus making them better for memorizing like: “Beer-water” (meaning soda water), “Yeast-cigarettes”, “With Yeast – growing by leaps and bounds”, “Cigarettes – light smoke”, “Milk and beer “Stomach friend” and some others. The bright building remained for the next 10 years. Mosselprom was dismissed in 1937 and the building became an ordinary block-of-flats. Amazingly, in 1997 the original graphics were completely restored. Here are a couple of pictures: the front, the back – one and two.

The conception of making an advertising campaign which was absolutely functional on the one hand, and implied as many means of advertising as available on the other, was mind-blowing. Every part of it was carefully thought of, which was a great difference from the common advertising practice of the time. The result is evident: a great many of the Mosselprom slogans are well known ever since although Mosselprom and its brands vanished long ago.

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