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Entertainingly Chauvinistic Vintage Beer Ads

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 by Liz Chatterton

In an online search I came across a URL that contained "Awesomely Chauvinistic Vintage Beer Ads" [nextround.net] and I just had to click. What I found is indeed chauvinistic and very entertaining.

Apparently traditional beer advertising was not so much about half naked girls and sex appeal as much as it was about women "knowing their role." I’m not exactly a feminist and I’m not easily offended, so as a woman in the beer business I really got a kick out of these time-sensitive ads. Can you imagine the reaction Schlitz, Miller, and Anheuser-Busch would get if they ran the campaigns today?

So here they are, in all of their prejudiced glory:

Who needs subtlety?

Schlitz Beer Ad

This one reeks of "Know your role and have dinner and a Miller High Life on the table when I get home from work, biatch."

Miller High Life Beer Ad

This one is more of the "know your role and pour me a beer while I fix things with my tools and sheer brawn" type.

Budweiser Beer Ad

This ad seems to suggest that men should hang out with their friends and drink beer while women fix them dinner and long for the day that they can contribute something valuable to a conversation about work or politics.

Miller High Life Ad

Then there’s this ad that pictures a subservient member of staff rewarding the hardworking radio broadcaster with a beer. She’s certainly progressive if she’s out there working, I just hope she’s done serving his beer early enough to get home and make dinner and pour beer for her own husband.

Schlitz Beer Ad

The copy for the following ad reads "In this friendly, freedom-loving land of ours… Beer Belongs—Enjoy It!" That’s a nice message; except they should have clarified that you need to be a man to kick back and enjoy a brew over the holidays. Women shouldn’t have time to relax if they’re wrapping presents, preparing meals, raising children and bringing their men beer like they’re supposed to. Duh!

Brewers Foundation Beer Ad

Perhaps the message here is "know your role and get my dinner on the table faster– you’re getting in the way of my beer delivery."?

Old Vienna Beer Ad

"It’s OK…. I saved the Schlitz!" says it all. Just make sure you know your role when the boat tips over.

Schlitz Beer Ad

And lastly, there’s this gem from the KING of beers. Apparently this guy is the king of getting women drunk. As long as they know their role as he does it, it’s ok.

Budweiser Beer Ad

Hope you enjoyed these blasts from the past as much as I did. I’d keep writing but I’ve gotta go pour Tom, Dave, Kris, Greg and John their lunchtime beers!

TAGS [ BEER ADS | FUNNY BEER ADS | OLD BEER ADS | VINTAGE BEER ADS | BEER ADVERTISEMENTS ]

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23 Responses to “Entertainingly Chauvinistic Vintage Beer Ads”

  1. Hannah Says:

    It’s ok Liz – I got them this time, you fill ‘em up next round ;)

  2. Deron Says:

    I don’t know what’s funnier, the ads themselves, or your captions \m/

  3. Brian O'Shea Says:

    Since we are on the subject of Chauvinism….

    This is from a 1950s text book:
    1950’s Homemaking tips — a crash course
    The 1950’s really were the era of June and Ward Cleaver! Check out this excerpt from a 1950’s Home Economics textbook, compiled by Ms. Leslie Blankenship, that clearly defines the role of homemaker and wife…as if!

    Have dinner ready: Plan ahead even the night before to have a delicious meal on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.
    Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-wary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

    Clear away the clutter: Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift, too.

    Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.
    Minimize all noise: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quite. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him. Some don’ts: Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.

    Make him comfortable: Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax-unwind.

    Listen to him: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

    Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to be home and relax.

    The goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
    Jeannie C. Riley – HARPER VALLEY PTA

  4. Hannah Says:

    Brian – after reading all that, I think even I want a wife! haha

  5. Liz Says:

    Wow…. being a Suzie Homemaker sounds like a tough job. I think I’ll stick to writing about beer! Thanks for sharing Brian!

  6. Brian Says:

    Can you believe that taught that crap in schools? That stuff is from a real text book! Suzie Homemaker should have been making 100K even back in 1940!

  7. Tom Says:

    Actually, I’m a bit surprised that in one ad a woman is drinking the beer and in several of them there seems to be extra, full bottles, implying the women will also be having a beer with the guys. At least that’s how I took it. The High Life is for everyone! Woo Hoo!

  8. Hannah Says:

    Tom – good point and I concur. The High Life _is_ for everyone :)

  9. Joe Says:

    Yes times have changed, mostly for the better I hope. I’m 32 years young and I find expectations, social norms, and “knowing your place” to mostly self-imposed. There has always been people, both Men and Women who say… “… I’ll do it my way, thanks”. – And I’ll drink to that!

    Choice is what the future has going for it, but too many choices leaves many folks undecided and unhappy thinking about the options they picked versus the options they are missing out on. Is Ignorance bliss? Are people happier in a city or a small town. Not a new idea. Somewhere in the middle is best for me. You decide what’s best for you!

    I’ll take the person who equally manages the house to make it comfortable, who shares in the work and the fun, and the spirit of service! (or kindness). Who is “ready” for me when I see them (As I should be “ready” for them). That existed in the 1950s. We should be careful not to stereotype the past, although there are lessons from a common experience.

    Sure these ads are one-sided, but they serve a different general audience. You can watch TV tonight and see ads for cleaning products dominated by Women. Does that mean women today are subservient? I don’t think so. The more things change the more they remain the same. I buy bleach because I need it, not because a Man or a Women told me to in an ad. To think that ads control our lives or reflect anything super-real 100% is a bit silly. Ads serve a buying public. They are designed to sell. That’s it. There is no deep message here.

    The “Radio Broadcaster” above, is a HAM, operating short-wave out of his home. (That chair is not Steal-Case office equipment in gray enamel that would last through 4 wars). I say “his” home because back in the 1950s, it mostly likely was “his”. (Actually it’s the bank’s home, and the bank won’t loan to a women without a J O B :). No, I take that back… it could have been a partnership and who knows maybe her parents helped with some money. Or maybe she had the money herself? My mother did in the 60s, and she had to work hard for every penny of it!

    (Notice the call letters on the QSL cards on the wall and the Amateur Radio booklet). He reminds of my dad and all his gear, which was better put away in the small room or “shack”. My Mum would say the beers in the garage, and my Dad, he wouldn’t ask because he bought it and put it there.

    But he would bring a peace of pie to my mum after she is done watching the tele, always with a napkin.

    People didn’t wear suits at home all night either in the 1950s, unless guest’s were over. A lot of this is “done up” for the photos. It may not represent anything real. Most likely the women is not a subservient progressive worker (she needs to show more cleavage)… but his “understanding” wife, just coming downstairs from a nap, no wait she’s wearing a uniform…

    I guess we just don’t know. Radio stations did not look that. The women does appear to be in a server’s attire with a serving tray and cloth to wipe any spills, I’ll give you that. Maybe she’s “playing the part”.

    She could be his mistress… trying to loosen him up so she could have fun, the kind of fun she could never admit, being the 1950s and all, wink.

    Much love. Cool Ads! – Joe

    PS Thanks Brian. Those tips are good for anyone. More people should read and follow that. You never know what someone else has gone through in there day, Man or Women.

  10. WordUp Says:

    I think you are reading too far into these ads, most are just being marketed towards women. Beer companies realized stay-home wives bought the groceries yet the men drank the beer so tried to market towards them. Day-time TV is still full of cleaning ads being marketed towards these types of women but that does not make them subservient, that is just the way many households tend to be.

    I still enjoyed the article.

  11. Liz Says:

    Thanks for commenting WordUp!

    I realize that it was a different time back then and I probably came off very bitter and serious but really, it’s very interesting and entertaining to see ads from decades past.

    I’m not by any means a feminist and a few of the ads I actually enjoy. The “Don’t worry hunny, you didn’t burn the beer” is really funny but I don’t think it’d ever fly today. People are waaaay too sensitive.

    You’re absolutely right about the target marketing too. Ever watch the show Mad Men? It’s one of my favorite shows now and they actually have an episode where the guys at the ad agency decide to market Heineken to housewives and they use Betty Draper for research.

    When I was an intern at an ad agency in college I worked on a campaign for an adult education program and our whole message was “you don’t have to work that crappy minimum wage job. It’s not too late to do better.” One of the billboards we put up had a picture of a fictional restaurant sign and said “Burger World – Now Hiring” and then the message “DO BETTER” … it was up about a week before we got calls and letters from outraged fast food workers groups and activists telling us how offensive and wrong we were. We ended up taking the billboard down but you know what? We got a ton of attention for the program and it was fun. Sometimes advertising goals are best accomplished by pushing the envelope and testing the waters.

    Cheers to that!

  12. Charlie Says:

    Wow, is this a group for man hating lesbians? Back in the day the divorce rate was nothing like it is today, People were happy and they didn’t rant their insecurities, have hearts of ice or form man hating lesbian groups. When you hags grow old alone and argue with your cats you would beg to be june clever. who wouldn’t want to live in that house. thats all for now wouldn’t want to keep you from your self defense classes, diet centers and back waxing appointments. then again you have all this time to bitch on the internet you more than likely don’t leave the house in fear you will be heckled by the normal contributing members of society.

    i found you a shirt:

    http://rlv.zcache.com/shut_your_hole_know_your_role_tshirt-p235233787582108854q6vb_400.jpg

  13. Liz Says:

    Charlie,

    The t-shirt you linked to was a nice way to affirm the ignorance you introduced in your comment.

    Contrary to your assumptions I am not a man hater. I am a very happy girl and my heart is anything but icy. I am also a normal contributing member of society and I leave the house every single day to go to work in an office full of men, who I respect and admire. Then, I go home and cook dinner, do laundry and sometimes even bake treats for the men in my life.

    As I wrote above, I didn’t intend to come off as being bitter, I just found these ads entertaining and I had fun playing the devil’s advocate in calling out the outdated messages that they seem to be communicating. Sure, I may have been over the top in reading into them yet it was all in good fun.

    I do not need to justify this blog post (or my character) to you, as it is part of my job to write about things related to beer and that is what I did here. I will say this however; for someone who thinks “bitching” on the internet is a waste of time, you seem to have it down to an art form.

  14. M Says:

    You go Liz!!!!

    Some people…cough cough….Charlie….apparently need to go back to the 1950′s.

    Personally…I think theres nothing sexier than a man who stays at home with the kids while the woman goes off to work. But that obviously means the man is already married and I’m no gal to break up a marriage.

    So cheers to living by myself, supporting myself, and owning my own house all without the help of the other sex and at the ripe age of 24. (27 now)

    Who is interested in grabbing beers tonight to celebrate my independence?

    oh…in case you’re wondering…I am not a man hater or extreme feminist. Just ask my friends.

  15. Hannah Says:

    M – I’m always up for a drink with you. I’ll be working late tonight but I can buzz you when I’m leaving to see what you’re up to :)

  16. Ed Says:

    Personally, I think this shirt fits best there, Chuckie: http://bigbadthreads.com/files/imagecache/product/images/funny_tshirt_gtfo_shirt.jpg

  17. jehan Says:

    I thought this post was entertaining. For the record, I am a married, stay-at-home-mom, who likes her “traditional” role. I have many friends who are the “alpha woman” in their relationships, friends who are single parents, friends who are independent and childless…. we have choices, now. We should respect what works for other people even if it doesn’t work for us. I think the ads and comments are funny, and I’m not offended by them. They are a product of the time. It’s fun to look back and see how things have changed (or not changed!) We have silly and funny ads in our time period.

    The woman burning dinner reminds me of myself :) Only I wear yoga pants, a tee, and a ponytail and my husband gets his own beer :)

  18. Jack Davis Says:

    The ad. “In this friendly, freedom loving land…” the observation about the “gals” – “Women shouldn’t have time to relax if they’re wrapping presents, preparing meals, raising children and bringing their men beer like they’re supposed to. Duh!” Who wrote this – Stevie Wonder? Duh! there are three bottles and two glasses on the tray… I happened to have been around in those days and believe me, you have NO idea what any of it was about. Duh… after having read about half of this blog, about all I could stomach, I got the distinct impression you had a very distorted childhood and puberty. Unless, of course this is a light and breezy, tongue in cheek spoof… yeah, right. Liz, get some professional help, or whatever it is that will make you feel human again.

  19. Jack Davis Says:

    Oh – one more note… the guys in the ads and the guys who wrote them just fought and won WWII (that’s world war two). If it weren’t for them we’d all be singing a different national anthem. What have you done lately? Ah yes, the bitter women’s beer blog. Keep up the good work!

  20. Liz Says:

    and I repeat (just for Jack):

    I didn’t intend to come off as being bitter, I merely found the ads entertaining and I had a little bit of fun going over the top and playing the devil’s advocate. It made for some interesting discussion and it was all in good fun. Duh.

    Although I appreciate your concern, I assure you I had a refreshingly traditional and undistorted upbringing. My parents are still married, my dad worked and my mom stayed home and cooked us dinner every night. She also served on the PTA, did all of the housework and gave us our baths before bed. I loved it.

    I love to cook, bake and take care of people myself. I am certainly not bitter nor am I a feminist or a lesbian (not that I think there’s anything wrong with that.)

    I don’t feel the need to defend my intelligence because you clearly don’t know me at all – I would like to note however that both of my grandfathers served in WWII and one of them was on the beach at Normandy on D-Day. At his memorial service earlier this year I centered my eulogy around his service to his country and made great mention of how hard he worked to ensure that my grandma was able to stay home and raise their children.

    I’d make a joke about how I kept myself out of the kitchen long enough to attend college and learn the fancy abbreviations you speak of but it’s evident that my humor is not well received. Cheers!

  21. stu Says:

    We all know most men need to get a woman drunk to get laid. Fact Of Life ! Pernod & 7up does it every time : )

  22. Liz Says:

    Hmm… I’m not sure that’s necessarily true, Stu – but I appreciate your comment all the same.

    I’ve found that good old fashioned charm and moderately gentleman-like behavior can get a guy pretty far- but your method ensures a good cocktail, if nothing else. Cheers!

  23. B.A. MacLean Says:

    “Then there’s this ad that pictures a subservient member of staff rewarding the hardworking radio broadcaster with a beer. She’s certainly progressive if she’s out there working, I just hope she’s done serving his beer early enough to get home and make dinner and pour beer for her own husband.”
    She IS at home,and her husband is a HAM radio operator. A hobby that has also helped keep the world Free!!!

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