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Hip Smirnoff Vodka ads from the 60s with Groucho & Harpo Marx, Woody Allen, Eartha Kitt & more


Julie Newmar, 1966
 
Everyone gives George Lois huge props for his attention-getting use of celebrities and his sharp eye for an arresting image, but he wasn’t the only one in advertising or publishing treading that terrain. Through the late 1950s and the 1960s, Smirnoff Vodka had a well-known series of ads that used some pretty hip people, from Vincent Price and Langston Hughes to Woody Allen and Eartha Kitt.

Smirnoff was intent on pushing the Moscow Mule during this phase, so it comes up in a lot of the ads. Kitt and Allen both pose with the same wooden donkey to drive the point home, and a few of the ads feature the distinctive copper cup intended to be used for Moscow Mules.

The campaign used a great many African-American celebrities, which may have been forward-thinking at the time, but it also may have pushed the ball forward on homosexual imagery to some degree. In 2000 the Advocate singled out the Joseph Cotten ad below as an example of a subversive advertisement reaching out to homosexuals in a coded way.

These ads all reek of Sterling Cooper, and Robert Morse is among the celebrities just to make it that much more of a Mad Men kind of post.
 

Woody Allen, 1966
 

Woody Allen, 1966
 

Woody Allen, 1966
 

Woody Allen, 1966
 

Eartha Kitt, 1966
 

Langston Hughes, 1959
 

Vincent Price, 1955
 

A nice closeup of the above image
 

Julie Newmar, 1966
 

Groucho Marx, 1965
 

Groucho Marx, 1965
 

Robert Morse, 1967
 

Robert Morse, 1967
 

Joseph Cotten, 1958
 

Buster Keaton, 1957
 

Zsa Zsa Gabor, 1967
 

Steve Allen, 1963
 

Harpo Marx, 1961
 

Bert Stern picture of Harpo Marx from what must have been the same session
 

Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, 1960
 

Johnny Carson, 1966
 
Here’s a Woody Allen audio clip from the era that uses the Smirnoff ad as starting point for a classic bit (the company’s name is never mentioned, though):

 

Posted by Martin Schneider
|
08.09.2017
11:25 am
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