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Dr. Seuss, Branding Genius

The doctor is inToday in unexpected nostalgia: By the time they come of age, most American children have in some way experienced the multimillion dollar brand that is the estate of writer/illustrator Theodore Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. Multiple generations got to know the good doctor through his colorful, award-winning children’s books, TV specials and a string of hand- and computer-animated films of varying critical and commercial success.

Anyone with a soft spot for Seuss’s work will get a kick out of this online exhibit, recently made available by the Library of the University of California, San Diego. His instantly recognizable visual brand shines through in a series of amusing pre-war ads for companies as disparate as Ford, NBC, Ajax, GE and Standard Oil. Like contemporary Walt Disney, Suess knew that there was no better way to humanize a brand than with adorably anthropomorphic creatures; he was a master of developing a unique visual signature that somehow tied back to the product in question.

Does a cynical age embodied by the increasingly sarcastic tone of Disney and DreamWorks properties still allow for the whimsy of a Seuss? We hope so.

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