Category Archives: History

Fix Acne with these Golden Suds

What an amusing comparison this ad from eighty years ago draws. How reassuring to know that the lager you’re drinking is made from clean grain. Also bemusing is that the second-person point of view of the headline taken with the image of the child having his face washed implies that the boy is the drinker. Or perhaps an infantile version of the drinker.

In which case Budweiser was trying to associate drinking their beer with getting one’s face washed – a form of renewal, a refreshing ritual?

Wash Bud Ad

Is the advertisement subtly using cleaning – scrupulous cleaning – as a kind of excuse for the light lager flavour? So clean, all flavour is stripped away! Even the water is washed! With air, clean, clean air! You will never catch influenza from our beer!

But really, were any of Bud’s competitors in the 1930s letting dirt into the bottle? I highly doubt it. Beer has so many stages from the field to the glass that dirt from barley is a total non-factor.

Then there is of course again that creepy “Make this Test” box Budweiser loved so much in those days.

Portrait of a Happy Wife

The year is 1940. Prohibition is not long over, its spectre haunts the United States of America as disintegration and war haunts Europe. Advertising barons, smug men in suits, sit in warm offices across the North American continent devising methods for selling lager beer. They are trying to tap into their own brains, decant ideas that are refreshing and retain well.

“Aha!” shouts one bespectacled lout. “The woman’s voice.”

A mass of advertising heads rise and fall. Of course, think these hundreds of men, looking out at their secretaries typing and fending off sexual advances on the office floor. The woman’s voice. It’s perfect. Who understands it better than us – good, red-blooded, hard-working, middle-class American husbands?

Portrait of a Husband

A further disturbing part of this Budweiser advertisement from 1940 is the “Test” featured at its bottom. It is severely reminiscent of the “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man” maxim.

“Give me an exclusive palate for a week and I will give you a captive drinker.”

All of this commentary of course comes from a 2015 unmarried male who brews his own beer and has no idea what a happy wife looks like.