Thursday’s ad is for “Rheingold Beer,” from 1952. This ad was made for the Rheingold Brewery, which was founded by the Liebmann family in 1883 in New York, New York. At its peak, it sold 35% of all the beer in New York state. In 1963, the family sold the brewery and in was shut down in 1976. In 1940, Philip Liebmann, great-grandson of the founder, Samuel Liebmann, started the “Miss Rheingold” pageant as the centerpiece of its marketing campaign. Beer drinkers voted each year on the young lady who would be featured as Miss Rheingold in advertisements. In the 1940s and 1950s in New York, “the selection of Miss Rheingold was as highly anticipated as the race for the White House.” The winning model was then featured in at least twelve monthly advertisements for the brewery, beginning in 1940 and ending in 1965. Beginning in 1941, the selection of next year’s Miss Rheingold was instituted and became wildly popular in the New York Area. After the over 700 aspiring models who registered for the contest, sixty were chosen in April to go to the next round. For that sixty, just six finalists are chosen and consumers are given an opportunity to cast their vote in the late summer and early fall. As an indicator of just how popular the Miss Rheingold campaign was, this is a cartoon by Robert J. Day that was published in the New Yorker magazine on September 20, 1952. In the cartoon, political speeches and being given for various candidates, the two we can see are both running for U.S. Senator, but in the bottom righthand corner, the orator there is stumping for votes for Mary Austin to become Miss Rheingold 1953. You can’t pay for that kind of advertising.
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