Milton Glaser Container Corp. of AmericaIntelligent advertising may seem like an oxymoron these days, but a remarkable print campaign from a long time ago still impresses with its creative uniqueness as well as longevity.

With the unlikely sponsor of Container Corporation of America, which was clearly thinking outside the box (couldn’t resist), the series, called “Great Ideas of Western Man” ran over a period of almost three decades (1950-1975) and matched artwork from a number of illustrators and designers with thought-provoking quotes from an array of philosophers, writers, scientists, and other cultural icons. The goal, apart from the simply inspirational aspects, was to introduce the American public to the work of artists — such as Milton Glaser, top, and Saul Bass, below — with which it would otherwise have remained unfamiliar.Saul Bass Container Corp. of America

Ahead of their time in not underestimating the discernment of consumers, the ads are considered a watershed moment in marketing history, as they bore no corporate message beyond the inconspicuously placed CCA name in small type at the bottom.

It was a rare and enlightening blend of commerce and art that would be refreshing to see more of now…