Chronicling his evolution from corporate advertising to non-profit and political advertising work, Mander takes readers on a journey through the origin stories of some of the most memorable anti-establishment campaigns from the second half of the 20th century. Many of Mander’s ads and campaigns for environmental and social justice issues were not only memorable decades ago, they remain relevant today.
As Mander explains in this book, he wrote several ads in the 1980s focused on abortion and reproductive rights for Planned Parenthood, and his team at Public Media Center took aim at the National Rifle Association in support of gun control. In 1966, Mander wrote an ad calling out the absurdity of a then newly-announced Pentagon initiative to drop toys over Vietnam, which resulted in a visit from the FBI.
A trailblazer in the pre-internet age, Mander’s strategies included bold calls to action. In work for the Sierra Club, for example, Mander helped produce print ads that featured letters to legislators readers could clip out and mail, a tactic at the time more commonly reserved for retail coupons.
Throughout 70 Ads, Mander explains how these campaigns came to be and offers advice for fellow low-budget, high-impact do-gooders. A personal accounting of his own work gives readers a primer on innovative thinking, while illuminating his inspiring story of aligning personal vision with collective impact.