Wednesday’s ad is also for Budweiser, from 1908. In the first two decades of the last century — the run up to prohibition — there was a lot going on in the beer world. It was period of vast consolidation. Increasingly, breweries finally started worrying that prohibition could really become a reality and began doing pro-beer ads. This one is partly hit-you-over-the-head obvious, and also somewhat subtle. Obviously, the main thrust of the ad copy is that Anheuser-Busch in 1908 employed 6,000 at just one “plant.” That sure sounds like a lot for a single brewery. They go on to say there are 750,000 people employed by all of America’s breweries and not less than 4 million “women and children” who are “directly dependent upon their pay envelopes,” with an additional 400,000 employed on farms that produce the crops necessary to make beer. Perhaps more importantly, all of those employees who work in the beer industry “love their homes,” plus “they are good, honest citizens, temperate, patriotic and true.”
On the more subtle side, the ad is designed to look like it’s burting out of a regular page in the newspaper, in this case the Washington Post. BUt look closer at the headlines. Here are a few of them: “Beer on the Mayflower,” “The Drink of the Great,” “World’s Decisive Battles Won By Beer Drinkers,” “The Grain of the Gods,” “Food Value of Malt Brews,” and “The Temperance Value of Beer.” Great stuff.