Steven Heller and Allison Silver have co-authored a new book for Taschen, edited by Jim Heimann, which collects and analyses campaigns from an important – if controversial – sector of advertising. 20th Century Alcohol & Tobacco Ads is a compendium of the most recognisable and impactful adverts of the century, tracing the evolution of this most lavish of propaganda and its key players.
“A stiff shot, a cold brew, and an aromatic smoke have been staples of American life – and death,” state the authors in the book’s introduction. “Statutes restricting their use and abuse have not lessened these sometimes vices, and their ill effects seem not to have thwarted the habits of the masses, which are simply too ingrained. Alcohol and tobacco are huge industries that produce massive wealth for many, and one of the most profitable beneficiaries, the advertising industry, has made certain of that. Over the years, alcohol and tobacco have been white-shoe, blue-chip accounts. Despite government and self-regulatory restrictions, beer, wine, and spirits are among the most vigorously promoted products in the nation’s media today.”
Following the industry through the ages, the book is a fascinating reflection of shifts in popular culture, and with often the biggest budgets and agencies behind the campaigns, often represents the zenith of creativity in advertising at that time. From 1920s celebrity endorsements and a re-focus on female markets in the 1930s, to the iconic Marlboro Man and ads with doctors claiming liquor can bring social success, the book shows the breadth of techniques used by brands to attract consumers. With rules against tobacco branding ever tightening, and recent talk about alcohol advertising and branding going a similar direction, the book’s release now seems particularly pertinent.
20th Century Alcohol & Tobacco Ads is published by Taschen on 12 February.
- Filmmaker Samona Olanipekun explores innocence and loss in his love letter to the immigrant experience, Kindred
- Beyond Heaven is a visual history of early Chicago house music
- Dinner For Few is an allegorical animation depicting our society that benefits a select few
- Grace Ahlbom’s publication Dreaming is Heavy Metal investigates new printing methods
- Anna Gille’s evocative illustrations dissolve the barrier between the natural and the artificial
- Photographer Thurstan Redding’s project Castle Village portrays an optimistic and joyful view of old age
- Uber gets another new logo, gives you something to make small talk about this weekend
- You know that great feeling of popping a spot? You'll get that from Sophie Koko Gate's new animation
- Type designer Kia Tasbihgou on how “knowing cool designers and nice fonts isn’t enough”
- Watch the trailer for the Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, the television show
- V&A curator Marie Foulston wants us to look at video games through the lens of design
- Swedish design studio Amanda & Erik avoid the tropes of minimalist, Scandinavian design in their practice