...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Whisky Gaze: Two Black & White TV Commercials from the 1970s

I'd like to say that my Black & White stash motivated this month's thematic content, but the true inspiration was the discovery of two old Black & White TV commercials on YouTube. The commercials are from the same time period and carry the same message.

And that message is: Black & White = Hot Chicks.

To wit, Commercial 1.



A summary of the plot: The real life Artie Ziff is down in the dumps, standing at a cardboard bar in Pretend Morocco. Suddenly a blonde woman sees a chance at getting a free drink out of the sad sap. Because she's three feet larger than him she gets a tall drink. The end.

Weighing in at 59 seconds, this ad feels at least thrice that length due to its wretched editing. The editor either fell asleep on the flatbed (see what I did there?), or the commercial was cut by a drunkard's feet. At half its length the ad would have been twice as effective. But even then, the eye lines never match. The continuity is so poor, the final result seems like footage from two ads were smushed together.

Between the garbage direction, unfortunate editing and kick ass soundtrack, I half expected underexposed hairy hardcore sex to follow. Or maybe I've watched too many Joe D'Amato films.

Now, Commercial 2:



A summary of the plot: Black & White being poured over the rocks. A woman in a white bathing suit gets wet. The end.

Wow! This ad works so well, I think I saw breasts floating in the scotch. Someone out there had been studying his or her Kuleshov and Eisenstein. Unlike the other commercial, this thing blasts through like shit through a goose. Unlike the other commercial, this ad never hesitates on its way to completion. The woman and the whisky are put on equal ogling grounds, and then you the viewer get BOTH at the end of the day. Sounds legit. I'll buy a case.

According the comments on these videos, there was at least one more commercial from this campaign, one with a woman in a black bathing suit climbing out of a jacuzzi. So the theme was consistent. Though these ads worked in one way since people remembered them 35-40 years later, were they effective beyond simple voyeurism?

This objectification of women was not unique to these Black & White's advertisements, or the industry as a whole. An advertising campaign like this (or this) demeans, at minimum, 50% of consumers. As referenced in a previous post, Black & White's sales declined rapidly from the late '60s through the '70s, into the '80s. This campaign did not salvage the brand in any way because three more decades passed before Black & White's sales ascended. The need to objectify women overrode the need to expand the customer base, and the brand gained nothing.

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