Never, ever, ever as a kid was I drawn in by the marketing behind Buster Brown shoes. Was I already too jaded in the seventies? I dunno. Maybe. But, if I was a kid in 1958, I don't think this ad would have worked on me either. That's just as well, because this ad is probably aimed at moms. Kids don't care much about what shoes they wear unless they have holes in them.
But look at the size of that kid! Perspective is a harsh master. You can play by all the rules and still have things come out looking weird. This boy looks like he's five feet tall with a head like a socker bopper.
Here's what I think the problem is: His head is angled toward the "camera", so we can see his face. But, he seems to have eye contact with the girls who are maybe six feet farther back from the viewer. In this position, I don't think he should be able to look them in the eye. Due to the composition of the painting, he seems to be a giant, standing face to face with the girls, unless you look down at his feet.
Of course, all art directors know is they want the kids positioned such and such and to be looking this way or that and smiling at each other. What do the rules of physics and perspective know about selling shoes?
So, you get things like this terrifyingly happy troglodyte boy. I don't think he's happy about shoes - Boy want girl! Come to mention it, I think any boy following his natural proclivities can be really into girls or shoes, but not both. You know what I mean.
And now we come to the real reason I never got excited about the Buster Brown brand: the mascot. Boy or girl? The name says "boy" but the big bow,the lipstick and the AWACS hat say "girl". Kids don't like sexually ambiguous things. A thing is either a boy thing or a girl thing. Kids don't like to figure stuff out. They want obvious answers. Buster plays both sides of the field, by the looks of him. I wish he wasn't winking at me.
However, Buster does have a badass pet. It's a Ghoulie! He would need a pet Ghoulie, attending grammar school as a seventh level pansy. He would be mercilessly bullied otherwise. If each pair of BB's came with a carnivorous attack demon, I would have begged my mom for a pair. What kid doesn't want his own demon?