Esso - Beneath the blue suburban skies.

When's the last time a gasoline ad was even vaguely enjoyable, or at least didn't make you hate the executives that paid for it? You can say 1952 if you like. This Esso ad from Britain's Picture Post is more pleasant than it needs to be.

Seemingly the entire cast of Penny Lane (not really, but you know) is running for Esso gasoline, lubricants and road maps, whether or not they have a car. There's the, uuh, boy smashing pots. There's Shakespeare and Bacon getting their names mixed up for some reason. There's a bunch of kings bowing to each other. And there's a fox hunt chasing Lady Godiva. Why? Doesn't matter.

Who's "Sillince"? It wasn't easy for the research and Googling team to find out, but it looks like William Augustus Sillince was an English cartoonist and illustrator of some note, working mostly in the Fifties and Sixties. He drew for Punch magazine (along with Gerald Scarfe! Hm!) as well as the advertising industry, which brings us to this Esso ad. What's an "Esso", you say? It's a British petroleum company. Nuff said.

If you can figure out the jokes in these political cartoons, you're a better man than me. Or, you were alive in mid-century England. Best of luck!

Click for big.


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