Before banks were synonymous with vampire squids

Here’s a lead generation ad, or a want ad if you will, from Merrill Lynch during their halcyon days in the early 1970s.

Before the era of the vampire squids and the CEOs who detonated century old companies with toxic derivatives, Merrill was a genteel place to work and boasted Ogilvy & Mather as its ad agency.

Imagine the psychographics of the candidates a company could recruit in 2016 using print advertising with a detailed questionnaire like this one.

Could you make the grade at Merrill Lynch?


  1. says

    Damn, that’s a hardcore questionnaire.

    I sense a Bruce Barton-Esque challenge to the reader.

    Similar to the British Royal Marines ads state that 99.9% need not apply.

    I love how they’ve done everything from abusing cognitive dissonance by asking questions where if you answer no you are basically admitting you aren’t good enough, all the way to setting expectations of what it will be like to work there.

    I’m adding this to my copyhour list!

  2. Lawrence Bernstein says

    Hi Will.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to contribute and your incisive comments.

    Is the Royal Marines ad in print, as well as on TV?

    By the “copyhour list,” do you mean writing out the ad by hand?



  3. Lawrence Bernstein says

    Hi Will, thanks for the link.

    If you’re handwriting ads, you’re one in a thousand. I’ve resumed it after a long layoff and there’s magic in the “neuro imprinting” that old Gary used to trumpet.

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