Thursday, July 12, 2012

Seven-Up is Weird (1950's)

Good morning!

Ever since I was a kid, I knew two things about Seven-Up: I preferred it to other drinks, and it was kind of...well...weird. If you remember, the early 90's gave birth to the Seven-Up ad campaign which featured a surfing/bouncing/dancing, be-legged and armed red spot called "Cool Spot" that served as their mascot. While I was obsessed with the Sega Genesis game of the same name, you couldn't help but notice Seven-Up's ad man was not really, um, anything? Tony the Tiger, the Rice Krispie elves, and Sprite's, well, sprite all had some kind of mythological or actual creatures behind their commercial concept, but nooooot Seven-Up. Just take the spot of the label and give him some legs and arms! AND SHADES! We are good! Give him attitude! Even better!

It comforts me to know that the "otherness" of Seven-Up as a commercial entity is not without precedent. Looking through their ads in the fifties', "weird" seems to be one of the things they do best!


In this first ad, we're meant to believe these people are having a great time at a football game. I agree in that I love a good hot dog and a fizzy citrus lime drink almost as much as I love the colores in that girl's tartan cape. However! What is going on with her date? I understand the "That's Using Your Head" is supposed to clue us in to the fact that his head is the point of the ad, but what is going on?! Is it a football mascot-mask? A themed balloon? WHY IS HIS FACE OBSCURED? Whatever they're going for here could be just as easily accomplished with a handsome, crew cut guy as with a tiger-face balloon-object. 


This ad's makes no bones about the idea it's trying to get across...give your baby Seven-Up. The "pure, wholesome" ness of Seven-Up aside, I can't think of anywhere but possibly Appalachia (where I'm to understand babies are fed Mountain Dew on a regular basis and the soda stands in for water in most recipes) where you would feed an eleven month old a sugar-drink made for an adult. Is whiskey next? The text actually intimates that you should add seven up to the baby's milk to encourage them to drink it. Because who doesn't like a Seven-Up and dairy cocktail. EEK! The "family drink" aspect of it is nice, but the lamb and baby's beach ball peeking out from behind the soda bottle is somehow sinister. Did I mention the tag line of Seven-Up is "You like it...it likes you"? Simmer on that for a minute, I might come back to it.


Tennis balls are yellow. Just so you know. As if it weren't creepy enough to have an anthropomorphic soda who has human feelings about me, let's throw two albino tennis balls on a racket and have it eyeing the bottle with mute lust. I just don't know about these people. And the text of this ad features the just plain terrible wording: "This sparkling drink removes the very cause of thirst by stimulating the natural flow of moisture in your mouth." So, if you were thinking about sweat because you're playing tennis, you're now thinking about "stimulating the natural flow of moisture in your mouth". Which, I'm sorry, sounds disgusting. Strike three, Seven-Up! Strike three! 



This one I don't really have a problem with, besides the fact that the guy's refrigerator seems to be primarily stocked with jello molds and weirdly packed meats. I often get up thirsty in the middle of the night and drink a diet Sprite by the sink, squinting without my contacts, wondering if, in my half awake and blind state of vulnerability, this will be the time some masked assailant chooses to break into my home and put me on Dateline. I think diet Sprite and sleep deprivation encourage my paranoia. At any rate, fried chicken leg and Seven-Up? We might be heading in a healthier direction in terms of how I feel about your product!


But then you had to go back to this. "For your dryness, you highness!" says the bobby soxer to the GIANT basketball player in enormous Chuck Taylors and the shortest, satinest, PURPLEST shorts I've seen on a man since Liberace. Well. It was the fifties'. I may give you a pass. But nothing about this ad is very attractive. I mainly get a vibe from this that the guy on the right is going to grind that poor pert girl's bones to make his bread.



Finally! Of the five ads I could find this morning, THIS ONE is the only one that looks anywhere near normal. Though it is kind of weird to have the fullsized girl in the forefront attached by the telephone wire to the tiny man in the inset. I excuse this proportion transgression owing to the mustard and white and beige striped top, lipstick red pants, and OMG DO YOU SEE HER SHOES of the girl in the picture. Seven-Up, you might be onto something. Ditch the giant and the tennis racket and the baby and the tiger man, and bring me more embellished flats, and I might just drink your soda. Diet of course.

Is it just me? Do you think these ads are creepy? Maybe it's the continued sleep debt, but I was like, "WHAT IS GOING ON?" for the majority of these.

Watch out for balloon-mask tiger people, and I'll see you tomorrow for Photo Friday.


PS: Check out how cool that game was. Bab and I played through it last summer the whole way! While drinking its intended product, of course.

                                   

16 comments:

  1. Oh my hell, you're hilarious! The only time that I touch a 7-Up is when I'm really sick. And that's only because that's what my Mom always gave us as kids when we were puking our guts out. Whoops, there goes my 7-Up endorsement! I remember my Grandmother telling us how cool it was that baby bottle nipples would stretch over the mouths of Pepsi bottles. Apparently, my cousins and I were often lulled to sleep by gassy sugar drinks straight outta the bottle. Explains a lot probably. Milk was for weaklings.

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    1. I remember an eastTennessee friend of my at-the-time boyfriend, the friend's name was Teddy and he was at least 40, telling me about his mother, in bed at their house, giving birth to his younger sister in the late sixties', telling him to "run down the store and get Mama a Mountain Dew and a pack of Kools". COULD THE MT. DEW HAVE BEEN FOR THE BABY? It's just now dawned on me. Kidding, kidding. But it is hilarious that Pepsi bottles can bear bottle nipples and that I, too, associated the healing powers of 7-up with all the vomiting I did as a young bab. As said, SEVEN UP IS WEEEEEIIIIIRD.

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  2. I hate to admit it, but some of my kin are actually mountain folk who gave their baby Dr. Pepper in his bottle. I hate to say it, but the adult this child has become would make a better PSA than an ad campaign!!! There is an old bar not far from our house where the side of the building is still covered in a hand-painted 7-Up sign from the 40's-50's (a VERY unusual sight in our neck of the woods). We need to get over there and get some photos!!!

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    1. 1) Hahaha, yes, I'm going to start explaining my childhood as one extended PSA for bad parenting and 2) I bet that old sign is gorgeous. Snap a picture of it before it's gone with the wind!

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  3. Like Eartha Kitsch, I associate 7-Up with stomach upset. Seems like I always got sick at my dad's parents' house and my grandmother believed that 7-Up (or Pepto Bismol, or both) would cure any stomach upset. I've vomited more at their house over the course of my life than anywhere else. How's that for an endorsement?

    Yes, these ads are weird, but I would kill for the last outfit. Get me some skinny cropped pants and embellished flats stat!

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    1. I really am looking over my flats and trying to decide how I could attach plastic floral arrangements to them. THOSE SHOES ARE SO CUTE.

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  4. As a kid, I would spruce up my boring 7-up experiences by adding a drop or two, or three or four of food coloring. Couple drops of yellow and “hey look at me, I’m drinking beer”. Which reminds me, I also used to spruce up my vanilla ice cream by adding dry Kool-Aid mix, usually grape or cherry. Ahhh, to live in the 60’s again.

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    1. You're an innovator, Floyd! I'm going to Kool-aid-ify the next quart of vanilla I get in your name, I promise. :)

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  5. How in the world did you not mention the 70's TV spots with the "uncola" man? He was Jamaican, maybe? He would hold up a half lemon/ half lime fruit in his gigantic hand. Youtube him, you'll see why we 70's babies associate 7up with voodoo and exotic island living. While you are at it, look for Judy Tenuta for Dr. Pepper...give yourself a thrill.

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    1. HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS TRINIDADIAN UNCOLA MAN? Now I'm crazy about it. SO. WEIRD. Looking up Tenuta next. You are a national treasure, Mrs. Leapheart.

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    2. I remember him! He was around in the 80s too! And, if I'm not mistaken, wasn't it the same guy who played Punjab in Annie? Pretty sure it was!
      Like most, I associate 7-Up with a cranky stomach, although as I got older I graduated to 'East Tennessee Champagne',aka Dr Enuf. Uh oh, I feel a post coming on...

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    3. Oh, you flatterer, you! Did you see Judy? I love the Egyptian slave boys moaning "Judy... Judy..... Judy"
      By the by, a sure cure for the barfs is 7-up and Chicken-in-a-Biscuit crackers. My kids expected it. Chicken crackers! they would whimper and I'd drive my old @#$%-box 20 miles to town to comply. Try it!

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  6. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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  7. we had cool spot for super nes and i could NEVER beat it and it made me mad! especially since you couldn't save your progress. maybe i need to bust it out again this summer.
    i used to love drinking shirley temples out of a baby bottle when i was around 10, until my mom finally threw them away and told me i was weird.

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