MapCarte 252/365: Advert by Holiday Inn, 1985



Maps are routinely used in advertising and they are normally used for one specific reason – to give the impression of just how far the phenomena being advertised has spread. We see numerous examples of maps that show us the spread of Starbucks or Walmart for instance and the map is really just a placeholder for the containment of thousands of points that we’re supposed to interpret as ‘they’re everywhere’. That may be true but sometimes advertisers use maps in far more inventive ways.

This 1985 advert for Holiday Inn gives us the same impression of national coverage. The use of the map of the United States and the imprint of the logo on the pool’s lining gives us the clear message that you can find a Holiday Inn in all corners of the country. But the advert goes further. The pool is sun-lit and inviting. It’s clean and welcoming with the parasols and chairs. The relaxing, carefree couple give us a sense of how we might expect our stay to be.

Of course, all of these messages vary between the blatant and the subliminal but they combine to give us a great graphic that does the job of advertising the brand. Maps can be extremely powerful tools in advertising but that also reminds us of the power they have in more mainstream cartographic use. People believe what they see. Maps are extremely good graphic devices to support a whole range of different messaging.

That said – I’ve never been to a Holiday Inn and seen one of these pools. Wouldn’t it be nice if they actually did exist!