Monday, 18 June 2012

Madison Avenue Still Life

Liquor advertising in American magazines followed some well worn paths and deviations from the familiar tried and tested formulae were unusual. But for a while in the late Forties, Kentucky Tavern Bourbon Whiskey turned its back on the Southern colonels and captains of industry, moved away from the golf course and polo field and placed their trust in the power of lifestyle paraphernalia and witty taglines. The trick was to surround the product with allusions to office life (architect’s drawing board, the box file filled with ice cubes) and the leisured class (via the repetition of The Aristocrat of Bonds and a dual association with financial markets and fine breeding). The artwork gets our attention by employing white space and then holds it with ingeniously contrived hyper-realist imagery and clever visual puns. The use of white space to distinguish the product was a high-risk strategy (later brought to a triumphant climax in the artwork for Life Savers) but in this context it works well by lifting the product off the page and into the imagination of the target audience. 

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