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Double Deck Arrco Pin-Up/Glamour Playing Cards, Maidenform “I Dreamed” Advertising Campaign (“Designing Woman”), c.1955
Mint, sealed double deck of cards made by Arrco c.1955, featuring backs that are an illustration used in what is now one of the most famous advertising campaigns in history, the “I dreamed” campaign for Maidenform bras. Maidenform launched its first “Dream” campaign in 1949, and it lasted 21 years. The ads were notorious and considered shockingly risqué in their day. They started with the words “I dreamed” and ended with the words “in my Maidenform bra.” Each showed a beautiful woman living out a “dream” in some public setting, clothed from the waist up in just her Maidenform bra. There were dozens of them: “I dreamed I was a toreador in my Maidenform bra”; “I dreamed I opened the World Series in my Maidenform bra”; “I dreamed I won the Academy Award in my Maidenform bra”; etc. [Almost as famous today as the ads themselves is the lampoon of them that appeared in 1962 in Mad Magazine: “I dreamed I was arrested for indecent exposure in my Maidenform bra.”]
The backs of this double deck of cards are from the illustration that was used in the Maidenform ad that read: “I dreamed I was a designing woman in my Maidenform bra.” But the set is a real mystery. First, the “I dreamed” words are not on the cards – there is nothing to connect these cards with Maidenform. You have to know about the ad campaign already in order to appreciate what these backs depict. Second, the box has sample cards, but is otherwise plain – without any writing on it. When I purchased this item the box was sealed in its wrapper, and I cut the wrapper to make sure the decks conformed to the sample cards and to see if the decks themselves contained the Maidenform advertising line. But just as the cards make no mention of Maidenform, neither does the box. It seems very odd to me, since the illustration only makes sense when the Maidenform tag line explains it.
Presumably each deck has 52 cards, and at least 1 standard Arrco joker. The cards are bridge size, measuring 89mm x 58mm, with gold gilt around. As noted, they are in the original box.
The cards and box are mint, in pristine condition.
Reference: The numerous “I dreamed” ads – including the “designing woman” ad whose illustration is on the backs of these cards – are shown at a website titled, “Vintage Ads and Stuff.”
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