Tuesday’s ad is another one for Molson Export Ale, also from the 1950s. I love the smirk on the face of the man, reclining on the chaise lounge, or whatever it is, reading the newspaper and holding a full mug of beer. That’s a smile of anticipation, the promise waiting in a drink of beer.
Monday’s ad is for Molson Export Ale, from 1950s. The man in the illustration does look happy. After all, he’s got a “”deep armchair” and the promise of “quiet relaxation.” All he needs is a beer to make his time off perfect … unless of course he’s got a wife and kids that won’t be thrilled about him spending the evening quietly sipping beer in his comfy chair.
Saturday’s ad is for Carling’s Black Label and Red Cap Ale, from the 1950s. I guess they were trying to make it look sophisticated with the castle mansion, Rolls Royce and man in a tuxedo. The tickets next to the bottle read “The International Look.” These were apparently their “modern new labels,” and boy howdy does that make the difference in how a beer tastes. This is one approach that the big breweries take that I’ve never quite understood. I understand that packaging is, and should, be updated from time to time, sometimes in small increments and occasionally a complete overhaul. But it’s not really newsworthy, it’s not what consumers care about. I’m arguably more interested in beer labels and packaging than the average beer drinkers, and I find these ads absurd, so how insignificant must they seem to regular folks? Why would they assume it matters that the label has changed? If people notice and sales go up on their own then the new packaging is a success. Telling them they should notice and care that the same beer inside the bottle now has a spiffy new label is, in my opinion, a pretty tough, and pointless, sell.
But if they’re going for sophistication, take a closer look in the bottom right-hand corner. What the hell is that character? A weird barrel-shaped man with a flat head wearing all-white, except for a black top hat and a striped shirt. That doesn’t look particularly sophisticated to me.
Friday’s ad is for Carling’s Red Cap Ale, from 1955. Kinda of goofy Canadian ad, all in red. A guy who looks a bit like Bing Crosby sitting in front of a television set, looking back to us with the headline. “Hi there! Get yourself a Beer * and sit down.” I guess there’s not going after the active lifestyle demographic. I also love the tagline at the bottom. “It’s a pure case of pleasure.”
Sunday’s ad is for Kingsbeer Lager, from 1955. The brand was produced by Dow Breweries of Quebec, Canada. A simple ad, but “So Light! So Right!” is a pretty funny tagline. But it’s nothing compared to the other ad copy. “Rice brewed to the Canadian taste.” Ah, the Canadian taste.
Saturday’s ad is for Labatt’s, from 1956. “Confused by a crazy canvas?” Yes, modern art is tough to understand, isn’t that hilarious. Of course, in the 1950s, there was a lot of modern art that challenged notions of what it meant to be art, so it was a pretty easy target for the beer drinking demographic, I would imagine.
Friday’s ad is for two Moosehead beers, Moosehead Pale Ale and Alpine Lager Beer, from 1956. The minimalist ad has a netting for the background then two cartoon text balloons with the two beers’ names. That’s it part from the tagline preceding the beer brands. “When In The Maritimes Ask For.” I wonder if this ad was effective?
Wednesday’s ad is for Brading’s Ale, from 1956. Brading’s was a Canadian brand that in 1930 merged with two other breweries to become part of Canadian Breweries Limited. The creepy man with the pipe looks like Laura Palmer’s father from Twin Peaks, played by Ray Wise. The tagline “At the flip of a cap, friendly pleasure,” seems somewhat odd, and I’m not quite sure what they were getting at. The unseen person was obviously flipping the cap like you would a coin, but what did the winner get? The beer? Did they have to pay the tab? Aren’t they in a fishing lodge, cabin or somewhere private, not a bar? “Mighty refreshing,” indeed. But the funniest of all is that last sentence. “Try a case!” While most marketers are happy if you try just one of their product, Brading’s is starting out by suggesting a case. After all, you can’t really be sure with just one bottle, or even ten. To really give it a fair chance, you need at least twenty-four bottles.
Today is my good friend and colleague Stephen Beaumont’s 51st birthday. And not only a friend, but a neighbour, partner and ally, too (inside joke). In addition to his now-less-than-temporary Blogging at World of Beer online, Stephen’s written numerous books, including the recent World Atlas of Beer (along with Tim Webb) and the Pocket Beer Book, now in its second edition. Join me in wishing Stephen a very happy birthday.
With Luke Nicolas from New Zealand’s Epic Brewing in D.C. for CBC a few years ago.