Smithsonian Highlights Hispanic Advertising History
SAN ANTONIO, Texas—The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will acquire objects documenting the development and legacy of Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar & Associates, an advertising agency that became the top billing Latino agency in the industry.
The donation by Lionel Sosa, Ernest Bromley and Adolfo (Al) Aguilar includes agency business records, public service announcements, the 1988 Clio award for “Hispanics get AIDS,” which was the first Clio to be awarded to a Latino agency, other printed materials and video of landmark campaigns developed for companies such as American Airlines, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Kroger Grocery and Western Union as well as a print Coca-Cola tribute marking the passing of Tejana singer Selena in 1995.
“Advertising has developed into the language of consumer culture,” said Peter Liebhold, curator for and chair of the museum’s Work and Industry Division. “But as technology and marketplace demographics have changed, that language has needed to become more inclusive. The success of Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar & Associates in marketing to the rapidly growing Latino population is a valuable example of one such shift.”
Copies of the agency’s broadcast campaigns for various companies will be featured in the museum’s upcoming business history exhibition, “American Enterprise.” Set to open July 1, the exhibition includes an “Advertising Business” section exploring the growth of the advertising industry as Americans changed how they thought about their roles as producers and consumers. The Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar & Associates story will also be told in 2016 in the exhibition’s “New Perspective” case that features rotating stories.
The objects will join the museum’s existing advertising collection, which includes archival materials (documents, photographs, oral histories, film and video) and three-dimensional objects (packaging, point-of-sale displays, signage, premiums and personal objects from advertising agents). The national collection includes campaigns from Alka-Seltzer, Cover Girl, Nike, Ivory Soap and more, as well as business papers from major agencies such as N.W. Ayer, whose records span from 1849–1851 and 1869–1996. Sosa, Bromley and Aguilar will participate in telling their story for the museum’s Archives Center where oral histories serve as valuable resources for researchers.
Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History explores the richness and complexity of American history. The museum helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. It is currently renovating its west exhibition wing, developing galleries on business, democracy and culture. For more information, visit https://americanhistory.si.edu. Located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., the museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.