Tag Archives: holiday

Of Tiny Men and Eggnog

Last year I lamented the punch bowl missing from holiday festivities, and I thought I would expand on that theme by exploring what’s up with Eggnog. Love or hate it, eggnog’s a staple of the holidays and likely one of the earliest social lubricants – evidently it’s been an American winter drink dating from the pilgrim days.

It seems boozy eggnog advertising was dominated by two brands, Four Roses and Bacardi. Each took their own path to lure their customers to holiday cheer.

Four Roses stuck to the same visual, barely updated for the changing times. I’m serious. All the ads were the same:

These ads were from 1944, 1956 and 1937. Three decades of the same imagery! Still, I enjoy that they call their recipe “Merry Christmas!” It sure takes some jingle bells to try and brand such a common phrase.

Bacardi went with the whimsical route, featuring Elf on the Shelf’s other little known cousins – The Booze Brothers.

Are they elves, or gnomes or the 7 dwarfs on their day off?  I don’t know…I just.don’t. know…

Please note the “Man’s Recipe” for the eggnog. Men can’t be seen sipping some sissy nog, now can they?! “Sally, get away from that bowl! You know ladies can’t handle such a macho mix of eggs, cream and spices!”

Other notable eggnog ads include this Glenmore spot with more tiny bartenders, this time looking like a cross between Albert Einstein and the Monopoly guy.

glenmore nog

This very pretty ad showing Four Roses could do other things besides headless beings pawing at punch bowls, 4 roses

And though not eggnog related, I thought this was a fantastic ad! Get ‘er done, Santa! martini

Whatever’s in your cup, be sure to raise a glass for peace, love and good advertising!

Halloween Ad Grab Bag

I was unable to settle on just one ad, or really get my teeth into any one story this week so let’s just spoil our dinner on a buffet of awesome retro commercials! Like a good trick or treat bag, Halloween ads are varied and plenty.

When door-to-door trick or treating became an actual thing in the first half of the 20th century, manufacturers tussled to get a piece of the Halloween action. For a while cereal companies tried to strong arm their way in by advertising that individual cereal boxes were perfect to hand out to the ghouls at the door. How cool would that be to crack open a box of trick or treat on the morning of November 1st?

Keep the sugar rush going 'round the clock!
Keep the sugar rush going ’round the clock!

When it became apparent that this whole trick or treating thing was going to stick, the candy gods figured they could take a hold of the market by selling bulk, mini treats as a convenient answer to the homemade sweets many families handed out..

This is Just For Halloween, ya hear.
This is Just For Halloween, ya hear. The kids in this ad seem a little nervous. 

I like this ad just because it says “tricks or treats” on the kids’ bags just like from Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. I’m also glad the kid from A Christmas Story found a use for his pajama bunny suit present.

Full sized candy bars! What are we, rich?
Full sized candy bars! What are we, rich?

Our final Halloween tribute ad is a gem from the 2000 Olympic Games and reported to have been banned. Staring a smokin’ hot Olympiad and a Michael Myers/Jason Voorhees type, the take away message here is Nike shoes will save your life. Also if you have plans to be a crazed serial killer it might be good to include some cardio in your prep.

Happy Halloween!

The Sweetest Day

Kids, this one combines some of Aunt Mary’s favorite things: clever marketing campaigns, early nutrition ideas, candy and a splash of altruism. Let’s go!

I’ve heard of Sweetest Day my whole life. I remember our local ABC affiliate used to run a Happy Sweetest Day message during commercial breaks when I was a kid. I always thought it was a pale cousin to Valentine’s Day, cooked up to get folks to spend money or feel the pain of an angry spouse.

It’s not! Well, not exactly…

“The Sweetest Day of the Year” was  created by Cleveland candy mogul and philanthropist Herbert Birch Kingston and was first celebrated in 1921. Herb promoted the day as a way to show care for the less fortunate by giving them small boxes of candy. This would not only spread the love, but it would provide badly needed “food energy” from the sugar.  Numerous contemporary celebrities gathered in Cleveland that year to pass out boxes of sweets to orphans, widows and newsboys. Aw, that’s nice!

Here and orphan, or newsboy, or orphan enjoys candy
Here an orphan, or newsboy, or widow enjoys candy

Quickly the tables turned and the next year Sweetest Day was endorsed by Cleveland candy manufactures as a way to get in good with the missus.

Forget the orphans. Show your lady some love instead.

Folks were also encouraged to give treats and small presents to friends and neighbors as a way to slow down and engage with those around you. Still nice…

Despite national marketing campaigns, Sweetest Day never spread farther than the Midwest. I live in the Midwest and I actually heard it advertised yesterday in a radio spot for a grocery store. Sweetest Day may just be the Little Engine that Could of D-list holidays, chugging along for over 90 years now in the form of ragged flower bouquets, and half-hearted candy displays. I say we try to restore it to its original altruistic purpose, though I’m not sure how to approach the widows or where to even find a newsboy.