Industrial advertising in 1986

In 1986, one year into my career as a B2B copywriter, I worked for Anderson & Lembke in Helsinki, Finland. A&L was in those days one of the foremost, if not the foremost, industrial advertising agencies in Finland, an offshoot of the original Stockholm, Sweden, based agency.

One of my clients was Safematic, a manufacturer of industrial sealing and lubrication equipment and condition monitoring systems for the pulp and paper industry.

Safematic was at that time starting its expansion to international markets and needed a lot of marketing materials from brochures to trade paper ads. In a triumph of long copy, the ads often discussed the product’s benefits to the extent of filling a whole inside spread, like my example today.

The concept of the ad was simple: by automating the lubrication and condition monitoring, a paper mill could save a lot of money because all the lubrication points, bearings and other wear parts needed no human monitoring and it was possible to do preventive maintenance as the system watched for any anomalies round the clock. To illustrate the benefits of automation, the left-hand page showed three 3D drawings of a paper machine. Red dots indicated where human intervention was needed in two less sophisticated setups versus Safematic’s automated system. Hence the “less red” part of the headline.

The ad was awarded an honorary mention in the annual Best of the Year competition by Grafia, the Association of Professional Graphic Designers in Finland that year.

In 2006, Safematic was acquired by the Swedish SKF who kept the condition monitoring operations and later sold the remaining parts to the British technology company John Crane. Safematic is now one of their brands.

You can see the whole ad in Grafia’s 1986 Yearbook.

#b2b#copywriting#vintage ads


  1. Dave Conley - 2014-08-22 @ 20:07

    This warms my heart, Kimmo. It looks just like the spare, wry industrial advertising that the Anderson & Lembke office produced in the U.S. in the late 1980s. Definitely a case of strong bloodlines. You can tell an A&L ad from miles (or even decades away).

    A&Lumnus, 1991-1997

    • Kimmo Linkama - 2014-08-24 @ 22:35

      Thanks for your comment, Dave! Yes, I suppose that was the style adopted by every A&L agency, no matter where it was located. Sadly, it appears the link at the bottom of the post has now become inactive, and I couldn’t find the archive anywhere on Grafia’s website, so you’ll unfortunately have to make do with the miniature image in the post itself. Nice to meet a fellow A&Lumnus!

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