Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Another image: What is it selling?

A vintage ad:


You can buy this one on-line at this link. I get no consideration for that, BTW. I mention it only because it's a classic modern image from the people who invented modern, the Italians, and it's beautiful. It's also a complex image worthy of our admiration.

The description at the site selling the poster reads as follows:
Illustrated by Leonetto Cappiello, 1927. A vintage Italian advertisement for Bellardi Vermouth. A woman dances while holding a bottle of Bellardi Vermouth.
It's the last line that made me chuckle. Yeah, that's what's happening here. By the way, Cappiello is often described as the father of advertising and with good reason. He could just as easily be called the father of the modern. I'll get back to that issue with my weekly post about the Latin Mass later this week (perhaps Thursday). Oddly enough, although he is the acknowledged father of advertising, Cappiello rarely used sex to sell and, to the best of my knowledge, this is the only ad of his that overtly uses sex to sell.

Anyway, this ad is using sex to sell but we might ask ourselves, what "kind" of sex is being presented here?

Is that  a woman? She seems to have breasts but no nipples. Okay, maybe that was due to the mores of the era. But why, then, has the artist gone to such trouble to make her look like a rooster? Perhaps the artists at Leo Burnett had this in the back of their mind when, thirty years after the ad above appeared, they created the Kellogg's rooster. If they did, they did well to keep it a secret as the Kellogg company have a long, and disgraceful, history of being anti-sex. Roosters, to get back to the topic at hand, are male. And, speaking of the topic "at hand", do take note of where and how "she" is holding that bottle.

It's an image of masturbation. Yes, there is a female form implied but that image is meant to lead your mind to self pleasure and not participatory sex.

And it makes sense. Masturbation is a kind of self-indulgence and so is alcohol; if you can link them together in peoples' minds the sales will ring up.

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