I'm still trudging through this work week, and while I was doing my usual Google Books lurking yesterday, I found a series of Pepsi-Cola ads from the mid century that are juuuuuust out of this world. The fashion illustrations are gorgeous! Repeat after me: The fashion illustrations are gorgeous. However, the message of some of these ads isconfusing to me. Let's take a look:
The above ad was the first show-stopper in my morning's perusings, and I thought, wow, Pepsi Cola! Way to hire top notch advertising artists for your ad campaign. I wonder what the copy in this ad says. Don't you? Such a beguiling, gamine figure in black capris and shimmy top, bangles at her wrist, OH MY GOD THOSE EARRINGS, and neat leopard print belt cinching in an impossibly tiny waist. Well, wonder no more! From this ad:
No-Cal was released, but it wouldn't be until 1958 that diet sodas specifically aimed at people looking to "reduce" would appear in the form of Diet Rite.
I think this one may be the most brutal. "FASHION IS FOR THE SLENDER", reads the caption under the illustration of a slim, slim girl getting dressed in what I want to be my 1890's New Orleans influenced bedroom (see the wrought iron head board and the gas lamp light fixture [what in the hello do you call one of those? I see them ALL. THE. TIME and I'm blanking so hard]). On the vanity with her nail-polish and Coty powder? A bottle of Pepsi Cola. In the ad text? "Today's stylists are doing wonders for the looks of a modern women. But give some credit, too, to the woman herself. For the modern figure is her own creation." I don't know where to stand on this! On the one hand, it's completely true that portion control, proper diet, and exercise can contribute to a girl being a size where off-the-rack clothes just drape elegantly from her slender form. On the other hand, is it nice to point out that people over a size 12 have troubles, possibly not at all related to their choice in sodas, in keeping up"the slender lines that fashion insists on, that men admire, that health authorities and insurance companies applaud"? Nice work throwing in both boyfriends and insurance companies there at the end, Mad Man responsible for this ad.
Did Pepsi actually have less calories than Coke in the 1950's? According to these nutrition facts, they're almost identical in calories nowadays. It would be almost ten years (1963) before Pepsi added "Patio", later just Diet Pepsi, its no calorie diet-soda. Remember the Mad Men season three fiasco over the Ann-Margret/Bye Bye Birdie clone ad that flopped so stupendously? That was for Patio. So from 1955-1958, were they just blowing smoke about being "light refreshment"?
Still, I can't say I don't love these ads, principle aside, for the freaking AMAZING fashions we're looking at here. I'm not saying I could get into 90% of these get-ups, but oh, how I like to look at them. Example, this woman's straw hat, taupe suit, brown t-strap pumps, and a boyfriend that coordinates with the Eames chair's blue upholstery, right down to his socks! Sold.
This is my favorite of the bunch. AGAIN with the plaid pants looking chic as chic can be. I think the answer to the quandary of wearing these successfully is just being whippet thin and putting them on with panache. Both this and the next ad advise brides that if they want to be light as a feather when their groom sweeps them up to be carried across the threshold, Pepsi-Cola is the answer. Honestly, I would drink turpentine if I thought it would it would give me a midriff-baring ready figure like Miss Plaid Capris in the first panel here.
I love that this also intimates that the dress is being made at home, possibly with the help of a younger sibling. Sus, I need you to learn to sew (and sew extremely well) before September. I know you're reading this. COME ON. I will start preemptively drinking Pepsi Cola for the fittings, just in case.
So! Had you seen these ads before? Do you have any particular allegiance to a soda brand, for diet reasons or not? What do you think of the message or (even better) the fashions of these spreads? Can you remember the first time you realized what the whole hubbub about diet sodas was about? I can specifically remember making single-pitchers of Kool-Aid back in the day with 2 to 3 cups of sugar per batch, so I am not the right one to talk to about early intervention in childhood obesity. I never drank a Diet Coke until I was in college! Can you remember a similar conversion pattern in your own life?
That's all for today! See you kids back here tomorrow. Til then!