Last week I pointed to a hideous ad for Schenley’s whiskey that ran in Life magazine in 1947. It was notable for its attempts to use a cutesy cartoon character to sell alcohol.
Yup. It’s a walrus. It’s touting booze. And it, like the Schenley cock, appeared in Life magazine, just a year after the perky marching-band rooster (1948). But where the Schenley ad induced horror, this one is almost acceptable.
For starters we don’t have a genuinely irrational juxtaposition here with the alcohol. While it’s deeply wrong on so many levels to associate whiskey with a sunrise, there’s nothing inherently disturbing about suggesting that wine goes with fish.
And while the bandleader/ringmaster rooster was simply a ghastly travesty,* a portly walrus that might just resemble certain stereotypical caricatures of the well-to-do — or at least of gourmands — actually sort of fits. And this walrus lacks the bug-eyed mania of the rooster, whose glassy stare and gaping beak seemed to be harbingers of the worst kinds of dark mayhem:
The suggestion that Petri wines are only tolerable if served very chilled, however, suggests something about their actual quality. That, plus the fact that the brand no longer seems to exist.
* What is most unfair about it all was the amount of work that went into that rooster graphic. It was carefully and lovingly drawn and colored, but the result was a madness beyond the bounds of imagination. I feel for the illustrators, I really do. I get the feeling they had to shrug, bite back their vitriolic comments, and say, well, it’s what the client wants; it’s what the client gets.
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