Sunday, September 9, 2018

William Steig for First National City Bank Travelers Checks

As we saw in yesterday's post, William Steig was one of several cartoonists who participated in an advertising campaign for American Express Travelers Cheques in the early 1950s. His 1952 ad published in the New Yorker draws on his popular Small Fry series "Dreams of Glory," here showing a young boy's dream of an opulent lifestyle.
"And to insure the safety of your trip, Sir,
here are your American Express Travelers Cheques."

William Steig
The New Yorker, May 3, 1952, page 63





Steig was to follow up with a very different advertising campaign for travelers checks from First National City Bank (today Citibank). The ads featured his cartoons exclusively and ran from 1959 to 1963 in the pages of the New Yorker and perhaps in other publications too. These cartoon advertisements are meant to appeal to upscale readers taking advantage of the dawning era of commercial jet travel. They show people, often couples, being preposterously well-cared for in exotic locales—but also closer to home. Of course, none of these laughable scenarios is meant to be taken as a literal benefit of carrying the travelers checks.

The earliest of the ads I found dates from January 3, 1959 and features a couple happily receiving the red carpet treatment. Other patrons, it will be readily noted, are not carrying First National City Bank Travelers Checks and seem dismayed that they are not entitled to the white glove service and thus have to carry their own bags. (Why should that be? Do they not have enough cash to tip the bellhops?) The tag line, which will be repeated in other ads, reads, "the nicest things happen to people who carry First National City Bank Travelers Checks." The ad was run again that year in the June 6 issue; several of the ads were to appear more than once.
the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks

William Steig
The New Yorker, (January 3, page 11 and) June 6, 1959, page 18

the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks

William Steig
The New Yorker, (January 3, page 11 and) June 6, 1959, page 18

https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=16808&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=018

The ad for March 7, 1959 depicts a couple being given preferential seating in a nightclub. Again, who wouldn't want to be treated this way? Most of us have more experience like that of those unlucky patrons in the back still waiting for a seat. There is a certain rather obvious snob appeal to these ads.

the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks
William Steig
The New Yorker, 
March 7, 1959, page 49 (and August 8, page 51)

the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks

William Steig
The New Yorker, March 7, 1959, page 49 (and August 8, page 51)




https://archives.newyorker.com/?i=1959-03-07#folio=048


The ad for April 4, 1959 brings us out of doors to a train station. Our man with the travelers checks is greeted with considerable fanfare by a marching band. And what exactly does that exemplary treatment cost? The implication may be...nothing! One is simply treated better when one carries travelers checks and people know you have purchasing power.
the nicest things happen to people who carry

First National City Bank Travelers Checks
William Steig
The New Yorker, (April 4,) September 12, 1959, page 65, (and November 7, page 11)



the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks
William Steig
The New Yorker, (April 4, and) September 12, 1959, page 65, (and November 7, page 11)
https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=16822&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=064




Wouldn't you know it? Even Indians on the reservation show preferential treatment to those who carry this brand of travelers checks.
the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks

William Steig
The New Yorker, May 2, 1959, page 31





the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks

William Steig
The New Yorker, May 2, 1959, page 31




https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=16803&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=030


The same holds for Hawaii—or is it Polynesia?
the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks
William Steig
The New Yorker, July 4, 1959, page 47


https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=16812&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=046



Come the spring and the new baseball season, there's no telling what benefits your travelers checks may bring. Crumpet?
the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks
William Steig
The New Yorker, April 9, 1960, page 107


the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks
William Steig
The New Yorker, April 9, 1960, page 107







In May of 1960, we are intrigued to learn that special treatment extends to even our national parks.
the nicest things happen to people who carry

First National City Bank Travelers Checks

William Steig
The New Yorker, May 21, 1960, page 81 (and September 3, 1960, page 49)







the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks
William Steig
The New Yorker, May 21, 1960, page 81 (and September 3, 1960, page 49)



https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=16753&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=080



The same holds for the Grand Canal in Venice:
the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks
William Steig
The New Yorker, October 29, 1960, page 117



the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks
William Steig
The New Yorker, October 29, 1960, page 117




https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=16776&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=116











The nicest things continue to happen in Hawaii:
the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks
William Steig
The New Yorker, July 16, 1960, page 63


the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks
William Steig
The New Yorker, (February 20, page 69 and) December 17, 1960, page 79



the nicest things happen to people who carry
First National City Bank Travelers Checks
William Steig
The New Yorker, (February 20, page 69 and) December 17, 1960, page 79

https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=16783&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=080


In 1961, the tag line was altered slightly. The gas station still offered service with a smile—and perfume!
the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, May 27, 1961, page 20 (and  October 21, 1961, page 109)

the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, May 27, 1961, page 20 (and  October 21, 1961, page 109)


https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=16716&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=020




Even America's budding space program was brought into the picture...
the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, July 22, 1961, page 47




https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=16724&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=046

Let's not forget those beach amenities!
the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, (February 18, page 14 and) August 19, 1961, page 39


the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, (February 18 [page 14] and) August 19, 1961, page 39

https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=16728&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=038





I suppose this is Hawaii again. You get the idea.
the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, December 16, 1961, page 145


the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, December 16, 1961, page 145

the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!
Full page version
William Steig
The New Yorker, June 24, 1961, page 57



https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=19029&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=144



India:
the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, February 17, 1962, page 57 (and July 14, 1962, page 19)

the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, February 17, 1962, page 57 (and July 14, 1962, page 19)


the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

Full page version
William Steig


https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=19175&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=056





Down Under:
the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, August 18, 1962, page 69

the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, August 18, 1962, page 69

the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

Full page version
William Steig


https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=19056&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=068








On safari:
the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, October 20, 1962, page 107


the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, October 20, 1962, page 107



the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

Full page version
William Steig
The New Yorker, June 30, 1962, page 1


https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=19065&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=106



The skating rink at Rockefeller Center:
the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, December 15, 1962, page 103

the nicest things happen
to people who carry....*

*First National City Bank Travelers Checks, naturally!

William Steig
The New Yorker, December 15, 1962, page 103

https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=19073&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=102





In 1963, the tag line was altered to "First National City Travelers Checks—they're better than money." The word Bank was omitted, making the product less of a mouthful. Steig now had a little more leeway to take his art in new directions, to a far-away classroom, for example:
"And when they travel
they carry First National City Travelers Checks

—they're better than money."
William Steig

The New Yorker, March 2, 1963, page 11

"And when they travel
they carry First National City Travelers Checks

—they're better than money."
William Steig

The New Yorker, March 2, 1963, page 11

https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=19084&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=010

There are no visitors on the reservation this time around:
"Wampum, shwampum, give me my allowance in
First National City Travelers Checks—they're better than money."
William Steig

The New Yorker, July 6, 1963, page 17

"Wampum, shwampum, give me my allowance in
First National City Travelers Checks—they're better than money."
William Steig

The New Yorker, July 6, 1963, page 17

https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=19102&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=016




Prospecting:
"Let's exchange it for First National City Travelers Checks
—they're better than money."
William SteigThe New Yorker, July 27, 1963, page 65 

"Let's exchange it for First National City Travelers Checks
—they're better than money."
William SteigThe New Yorker, July 27, 1963, page 65 

https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=19105&crd=0&searchKey=First%20National%20City%20Bank%20Travelers%20Checks#folio=064




Now boarding:
"What can we do?
He paid with First National City Travelers Checks
—they're better than money."
William Steig

The New Yorker, September 28, 1963, page 57








"What can we do?
He paid with First National City Travelers Checks
—they're better than money."
William Steig

The New Yorker, September 28, 1963, page 57

https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=19114&crd=0&searchKey=FIRST%20NATIONAL%20CITY%20TRAVELERS%20CHECKS#folio=056



Native divers:
"They only dive for
First National City Travelers Checks
—they're better than money."
William Steig

The New Yorker, December 14, 1963, page 169



"They only dive for
First National City Travelers Checks
—they're better than money."
William Steig

The New Yorker, December 14, 1963, page 169

https://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=19125&crd=0&searchKey=FIRST%20NATIONAL%20CITY%20TRAVELERS%20CHECKS#folio=168



Note:  There's a lot more to William Steig than travelers checks. You can find a varied collection of advertising art by Steig on Ink Spill. Just follow the links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Be sure to mention who sent you.

I might well have missed some examples of this advertising campaign for First National City Travelers Checks that were published in the New Yorker. Please inform me if you know of any such Steig ads that I have not accounted for.

William Steig is one of those world-class cartoonists who produced excellent work over many decades. Today, some of his vast output sadly has been forgotten. I am always eager to hear from those with scans or photos of original art or published rarities by this artist.


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