My recent family vacation found me at the thrift store in middle-of-nowhere, Wisconsin. To my delight, there were several LIFE magazines from the 60’s and 70’s, so you know I had to grab a few. Although the articles were noteworthy what I was really interested in were the advertisements – the wording, layout, images, and products themselves. The majority of advertisements were for alcohol, cigarettes, and cars with insurance following close behind, but one ad in particular caught my eye. The February 4, 1966 issue showed this full-page ad:
Open and shut case
Briefly, it favors the national brand.
When you serve a brand that isn’t known, it’s hard to impress a jury of your friends. With a national brand, you don’t have to apologize for a thing.
You know the national brands. So do your friends. They’ve seen them in LIFE. Beer, wine, and liquor advertisers invest more in LIFE than in any other magazine. Retailers and wholesalers know LIFE is the best place to establish and maintain identity.
If you are ever in doubt about the right brand to order, turn to the advertising pages in LIFE. You can rest your case on the Advertised-in-LIFE brand.
Wow. In a few lines of copy, there’s the whole story of advertising and why we buy. Since I’m interested in individual’s alcohol selection and identity, I love that this ad is based on spirits. But would contemporary retailers and wholesalers find magazines to be “the best place to establish and maintain identity”? I doubt it since there are so many other ways to reach target markets and establish brand identity.
The blatant message of this ad though intrigued me. Perhaps there will be some work on advertising past and present in my future. Until then, I am still diligently working on my analysis of the influence of hip-hop music lyrics on alcohol selection and how alcohol selection is used for identity claims.