Friday, April 9, 2010

Making Nice With Peoples Beer

Peoples Brewing Ad From Late 1940s
Here’s another piece of incredible Oshkosh memorabilia from Paul Esslinger’s collection. This is from the late 1940s and it’s somewhat typical of the way beer was being promoted at that time. When Prohibition came to an end, brewers attempted to distance themselves from the seedy, beer hall image that the anti-fun crowd had preyed upon. They began promoting beer drinking as a family friendly, cheerful endeavor, suitable for both men and women. That approach sometimes resulted in ads like this one, which is so completely innocuous and absurdly innocent that it’s hard to figure out what exactly they’re trying to sell.

And what are they trying to sell here? If ever there was a beer ad crying out for deconstruction this is it. Take a look at that dog on the left. The one who’s keeping his tongue to himself. There’s something sinister playing about his eyes. And what about that woman. Can you really trust a person who is that happy? I wouldn’t. In fact, the entire ad stands in conflict to the product it’s attempting to promote. If picking up a couple terriers and clutching them to your breast was all that was required to reach this level of manic bliss, there never would have been a need for the beverage we’ve all come to cherish. Have a “nice” weekend.

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