Yes, You Can Be a Historical Figure and a Bad Ass

Case in point: Teddy Roosevelt.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OLSON

These posters are part of a series called “Historically Hardcore” by Jenny Burrows (AD) and Matt Kappler (CW) who created it as a spec campaign when they were ad students at Creative Circus.

The fact that so many of us have enjoyedt Matt and Jenny’s old classwork these past two weeks speaks to one of the web’s peculiarities: the ability to confer a certain type of immortality on ideas.

Despite being well over a year old, these posters have captured public attention through the type of key blog and twitter mentions that drive an idea viral. If you go to Jenny’s Behance page, she writes about how the phenomenon caught her by surprise.

But there’s another side to all this attention. Despite creating the precise sort of message any museum should crave–that history is cool, relevant and real–the august group at the Smithsonian, under advice of counsel no doubt, sent Jenny a warning to remove their name from her work. They have a logomark to protect–if they don’t, what’s to stop some unscrupulous upstart from naming their paperclip collection “The Smithsonian”? And so Jenny changed the layouts.

But again, the web bestows a certain immortality. So despite the best efforts of the Smithsonian’s lawyers, I was able to find the original above. And if you Google “viral Smithsonian posters,” you’ll find a URL that reads: Of course, if you follow the link, you’ll find a blank page with this message: “Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.”

But even the attorney’s have to admit that’s not entirely right. It should read “Sorry, no posts match your criteria anymore.”


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, OLSON


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