Beer through the ages

As regular readers of this blog will know, I’ve got a thing for vintage advertising.

My fascination principally stems from what those images and campaigns can tell us about ourselves.  What perspective do they give us on how we have developed as a culture? And what do they say about the direction we are potentially heading for in the future?

I recently came across an ad from the 1950s for Carling Red Cap Ale. Not unusually for the time, it is in two parts. A jingle section, where some frat boys sing about golf, followed by a scene in which two men are brought beer by a woman. (Watch the “guest” with the moustache… he looks as though he is going to drink his beer and then murder the couple who gave it to him!)

It’s a bit lame, right?

But the ad itself places you, the viewer, as…

  1. Upper Class
  2. A member of the establishment
  3. An adult

Now let’s have a look at probably my favourite beer ad of all time, a modern one for another Carling beer, Black Label.

A true belter of an ad… but hang on?

How does this ad place the viewer?

  1. Middle/Lower Class (They aren’t on the VIP list right?)
  2. Anti-establishment
  3. Not adults but boys

So, in terms of a cultural trajectory, what does this say about our cultural attitude towards beer?

I think I preferred it when beer was seen as a drink  for grown ups.


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