Ad Boy is little more than a scrapbook, albeit a bright, shiny and reasonably well-organized one. This collection of images, depicting characters dreamed up to shill for everything from spark plugs to soft drinks, offers plenty of colorful eye candy, but little in the way of context, to say nothing of analysis.
Ad Boy is like a companion volume to Dotz and Husain’s earlier work, Meet Mr. Product, if not for the fact that the two books contain some of the very same characters. If anything, Mr. Product stands out as a stronger work, offering as it does more in the way of context and analysis.
The rear cover blurb suggests that “illustrators, graphic designers, advertising enthusiasts, and nostalgia buffs” are the book’s target audience, but the latter two categories may be disappointed by how little they learn about these mascots and the companies they represent. Each image is accompanied with a company name, a date and an indication of where the image appeared. For example, we’re told that a fellow named Quisp, who sports a propeller on top of his head and a goofy facial expression, was found on a “water decal” in 1972 to promote Quisp cereal.