This study is concerned with the cultural knowledge that advertising professionals bring to their tasks and the ways in which this knowledge might be recycled or remade through advertising processes and practices. Using interviews with advertising creatives who have drawn from "history" for their advertising concepts, the article explores the historical literacy of these professionals and the ways in which they use the past in developing ideas. It finds that advertising creatives approach the past pragmatically, recycling pre-existing conceptions of past historical events and characters, and layering these with additional elements taken from contemporary popular culture, making something new in the process.