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.