Ads From The November 3, 1951 New Yorker Magazine
I really enjoy looking at old magazines. Those old issues of Life, Look, Collier’s, The Saturday Evening Post and especially The New Yorker uniquely capture the 1920’s-1960’s.
I like the articles, the cartoons and especially the ads. You read the copy, look at the typography and study the images. The salesmanship is very direct. Some ads are wordy and try and convince you of the merits of the product. Others let the product stand on its own with few or no words.
I picked a random issue of The New Yorker Magazine from over 60 years ago to look over and picked 30 ads that were indicative of the time. There are over 100 advertisements in this issue: some are very small, some are full page, some black and white others are in color.
Then, probably more than now, The New Yorker was read by and appealed to the upper crust of society and the ads definitely reflect that.
Here are the first fifteen ads. Click on any image to enlarge.
They Liked To Drink
Those post-war years meant if you were going out, coming home or even at the office you should have an alcoholic drink.
Booth’s House Of Lords Finest Distilled Dry Gin – Probably better than Booth’s House of Commons Gin
Dewar’s White Label and Dewar’s Victoria Vat – Dewar’s has survived into the 21st century. This is an ad I wouldn’t be surprised to see today.
Old Angus Scotch Whisky – If a musician recommends it, could there be a better endorsement? (Even if he is a classical violinist.)
White Horse Blended Scotch Whiskey – A horse is a horse of course of course.
Johnnie Walker Red Label and Black Label Blended Scotch Whiskey – A classic that is still a top brand today.
King’s Ransom Blended Scotch Whisky – Why do some distillers spell whiskey as w-h-i-s-k-y?
Dubonnet Blonde – Because you like your wet drinks extra dry.
Guinness Extra Stout – How this would convince anyone to drink Guinness is beyond me.
For The Ladies
Bergdorf Goodman – $1,380 for a coat? For a regular working person that was around twenty week’s salary. She is a very serious looking model.
Bonwit Teller – The high end store that once epitomized fashion has been out of business for over twenty years. The name is now owned by a corporation with plans to revive the luxury store as a chain.
Bronzini – I can’t tell if this risque ad is serious or not. The bow tie maker suggesting it would make a fine woman’s garter?
Utica Beauticale Sheets – Before thread counts they just had to say it was lustrous and petal smooth to convince you these were the most luxurious sheets. Once a thriving industrial city, Utica, NY now has one of the largest business space vacancy rates in the country as many factories and stores have shut down. Putting “Utica” in a brand name today would be akin to declaring bankruptcy before you launch your company.
Maybelline – This model is too angry to be selling anything and has a look that is a cross between Liz Taylor and Joan Crawford.
Joy – Perfume ads never have to say much. Do you really want to say “The costliest perfume in the world,” as a selling point? Maybe to The New Yorker reading audience you do.
Smoothie Controleur Girdle – I don’t think women talk about girdles much anymore.
“Why do some distillers spell whiskey as w-h-i-s-k-y?”, you ask? Because ‘Whisky’ is the UK spelling, and ‘Whiskey’ is the American spelling.
I thought that might be the reason. Thanks for the answer Neil!
It’s “whiskey” in the US and Ireland. And it’s “whisky” in Scotland, Canada and Japan. Cheers!
I believe this was an advertisement for perhaps an investment firm?
A dressed up man with his ankle in a large ( gold?) ankle cuff and chain attached to
a very large egg- like an ostrich egg.
I would love to see a copy of this again. I think the scenario would change, but the ankle
cuffed to the egg was always there. Thank you