Adverts With Punch!

« All advertising advertises advertising. » — Marshall McLuhan

When you move house, as I did a few months ago, some items inevitably get buried while others get kicked loose. For instance, several decades ago, I had picked up (at a dollar fifty apiece, apparently) a tidy little pile of Punch issues from 1946 and 1955. Punch (1841-2022) of course, boasted at the time what was likely the world’s finest roster of cartoonists. Not only were the cartoons splendid — and now I’m old enough to actually get most of the jokes — but even the ads, often produced in-house, were exquisitely illustrated. And so, instead of the cartoons (you can still scratch that itch with our recent Rowland Emett’s Ramshackle Poesy in Motion, for instance), I’m proposing a sampling of adverts from my pile o’ Punches.

Remember the days before built-in obsolescence? Me neither. I note with pleasure that the grand old Scottish firm of Saxone still stands. For more Anton, check out Anton’s Spivs and Scoundrels, Baronesses and Beezers.
From the June 3, 1946 edition of Punch, the Summer Number. This Votrix stuff wasn’t very good, it would appear. « As the second world war started to take hold, the export of vermouth from Italy and France become non-existent. Given the devastation left behind, it was slow to start back up again once the conflict was over.
In England Vine Products based in Kingston, Surrey (whom had been making British copies of Sherry and Port for some years) launched Votrix Vermouth advertising it as “Indistinguishable” from pre-war Vermouths from Europe.
They claimed it was made with the finest grape juice blended with genuine vermouth herbs. There was a lot of controversy and even several court cases as to how this grape juice was made (and if it was actually wine made from raisins rather than grapes). It was never any real challenge to the vermouths from Italy and France.
» [ source ]
While Rothman still exists in name, the company’s true lifespan was 1890-1999. Mergers and acquisitions, that same old story…
Solo is gone. « Pablo Utrera owned Solo Orchards, an orange juice business. In 1960 Idris Ltd., the soft drinks firm, acquired the whole of the issued share capital of Solo Orchards (“A small but well-known company making quality products“) for a consideration of 143,500 ord. 5s. shares in the company, worth £130,000. By April 1962 Idris had disposed of the Totteridge (Barnet, north London) premises of Solo Orchards, moving production to other factories. » [ source ]

Erasmic (founded in 1869), on the other hand, still operates, its products widely available.
An interesting soft sell approach to selling brakes! Established in 1926, Lockheed merged with Martin Marietta in 1995 to constitute Lockheed Martin.
Despite the advent of disposable tissues, Pyramid handkerchiefs appear to have survived. I believe they were named so because they were made from Egyptian cotton. That said, what a clever ad… as a product, hankies hardly strike me as a boundless fount of exciting visual ideas. Get yours here!
Having toiled in advertising illustration for some years, I can tell you that the privilege of signing one’s name in an advert is a rarely-accorded one. Unless, of course, your famous name was part of the pitch. This one’s from the pen of Bruce Angrave (1912 – 1983). From the Nov. 28, 1951 issue. Read about the history of the International Wool Secretariat.
Guinness for Strength, went the famous slogan. But was there anything to the Irish brewer’s bold claim? CNN looked into the question. Here, the artwork was provided by John Lobban, who went on to be “one of Britain’s foremost numismatic artists”…. and Paddington Bear illustrators.
« Every day we left the house in his Phantom V, always with a big pitcher of Pimm’s close at hand. Then we went into this little studio and Richard took his place at the mic with a tall stool to his left and the Pimm’s on the stool. Then we started recording, for maybe three or four hours or until the Pimm’s was gone. He did like to lubricate his voice chords but that was as far as it went – he could have never got through that music in a drunken state. » A decade or so ago, upon reading this quote from songsmith Jimmy Webb about his work with Irish rapscallion Richard Harris, I wondered just what this Pimm’s might be. It was a bit hard to find at the time, and kind of costly for a matter of idle curiosity, but I’m happy to report that it’s delicious.
Windak was an offshoot of Baxter Woodhouse Taylor (still around!). Here’s an intriguing bit of trivia: « The Cold-War era of High Altitude flying led there to be an array of different flying suits and helmets trialled for this purpose. At the time, nobody really knew the effects of flying at high altitudes, or what the adverse affects of a sudden cabin depressurisation could be (such as the fear of canopy blowing off). To protect the aircrew against this perceived danger, initial efforts were placed on developing fully enclosed pressure suits.
The life span of the development full pressure suits was short lived, as it was soon realised that partial pressure helmets and a pressure jerkin, and eventually just a demand oxygen mask and pressure jerkin was sufficient to “
get you down” safely after a cabin depressurisation event.
Of the array of full pressure suits tried, this series, known collectively as the “
Windak” suit and helmet has become the most well known, due to many television and film appearances in science-fiction works, as space suits.
“Windak” was a trade name used by Baxter Woodhouse Taylor, and had been in use since the second world war on items of heated flying clothing. However, people seem to solely refer to this series of full pressure suits as “
The Windak Suit“, even though the series contains a few variants. » [ source ]
Heinz, as surely you know, is still around.
Angostura Bitters remain an essential tool in the mixologist’s attirail.
Despite several changes in name and vocation over the years, the firm of Bemrose & Sons abides in some fashion to this day. A perfect example of adapting to survive.
A pair of examples from a series of themed ads. The first saw print in the Aug. 10, 1955 issue, the second in the Sept. 14 one. They didn’t go much for repetition, did they? First concocted in 1830, St Raphaël remains a highly popular apéro. Read its history here. I’m getting a sense that in the liquor business, if you’re hawking a decent quality product, you’re in for the long haul, barring Edgar Bronfman Jr.-level greed and incompetence. But in the business world, that’s as rare as rocking-horse poo, right?