Hires - Woot! beer.

Today's picture comes to us from our Senior Refreshments Editor (She's the senior editor about refreshments, not the editor of all things about senior refreshments, whatever that would mean.), who found this ad in a June 1965 Saturday Evening Post.
It's just a soda ad. The tone of the ad should be keyed to the importance of the product from the consumer's point of view. The product is always a life-or-death issue for the advertiser, but a common mistake is made when they expect the consumer to view the product with the same gravity that they do. A car is a big purchase. So is health insurance. Those ads can have a heavy or dramatic air. Soda is a frivolous thing. An advertiser shouldn't put more importance on it than the consumer does, or people will roll their eyes and tune out.

Yesterday I drove past a billboard for 7-up that said "Be yourself. Be refreshing. Be 7-up." LAME! I understand that the Dr. Pepper / Snapple group would LIKE us to invest our identity in our choice of soda, but that's retarded. It's effing soda pop.

So then there;s this Hires ad. They're trying to turn their brand's identity as a market underdog to their advantage. "Break away from the ordinary." etc etc. Fine. Good, even. And nobody's intelligence has to get insulted or anything. Advertisers don't like it when you have or use your intelligence. They prefer to just obey or brain stem. Eat, excrete, hump, consume...

The ad mentions their "colorful" carton. Everybody likes some nice circus-tent stripes, like they put around the handle area, but I don't think you should describe anything so predominantly brown as "colorful". Nice, though. The taller middle section of the carton kind of makes it look like a castle, which only adds to the appeal, from a kid's point of view.

Poor old 1965. They didn't have photoshop to make the artist's job easier. You can see that the product was shot on a white background, and when they pasted the picture over the larger photo, they didn't really have a way to make the neck of the back row of bottles transparent. It hardly matters. A modern "graphic artist" would just have just dropped the transparency of the glass to 50% and called it done. To do it right, you'd have to spend some time making some areas transparent and other areas less so. See, glass is most transparent when you're looking straight through it, in the center of the bottle. Near the edges, there is so much refraction and reflection going on, that you'd actually see very little of whatever is behind the bottle. It's pretty geeky and complicated, and few artists take the time to get this stuff right, even when they have all the technology The Future has to offer.

This text might be the coolest part of this ad. Few things are so perfectly Sixties as this over-under, push & pull kind of text. See how the "T" is tall and the "I" and "S" fit underneath it's arms? Also, the "I"s are all lower case for some reason. This kooky lettering is wonderfully Sixties, and you don't see it used much, even when trying to imitate the Sixties style. Why? Probably because it can only be done "by hand". There's no TTF font that will automatically come out fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle. Do get this right, you need to manually stretch the strokes of the letters and make each letter fit together with it's neighbors. When you get it right, it looks great, but there's no real automatic way to achieve the look. So, laziness keeps it from being ordinary... just like Hires Root Beer. See what I did there? You're welcome, Hires.

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Michael Leddy said...

The lower-case “i” makes me the think of the album cover for the Beach Boys SMiLE.

Steve Miller said...

Even if there were a photo-lettering font for the artfully-acred "It's time for, etc"* would, in 1965, have required some darkroom magic. Even it the '80s when I was building "on-screens" for illos of TV sets, we had to send type out to a litho prep house for skews one perspective. Photoshop now makes that pretty trivial, and the lost mark-up for outside services has killed another profit center.

*House Industries has a wonderful library of fonts that mimic this highly stylized and one-time hand drawn type art.

FIL said...

I thought of another memorable example using that style of lettering:
Groovy pop culture usage HERE
By the way, the 5th paragraph seems to end with an incomplete thought, as if something was accidentally left out. If you do have more to say about the higher, middle section, I would like to hear it.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Good pull on the Fractured Fairy Tales title, Fil. When I die heroically in a rocket sled mishap, I want Edward Everett Horton to narrate the audio book of my life story. The fact that he dies first is something I consider the height of rudeness.

Steve, Your tales of analog titles production makes me want to hear a more detailed account of how it was done. Any chance of that? My first gig out of college was at a video sweatshop where all our CG was done digitally on Dubner 10k and 20k machines. So, I missed out on all the photographic techniques.

Thanks guys!


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