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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
Much more after the jump…...


Posted by Martin Schneider
11:25 am
Requiem for Port-au-Prince
04:46 pm


Haitian writers remember the island country as it was. Here’s Langston Hughes, from Autobiography: I Wonder as I Wander, 1956

Haiti, land of blue sea and green hills, white fishing boats on the sea, and the hidden huts of peasants in the tall mountains. People strong, midnight black. Proud women whose arms bear burdens, whose backs are very straight. Children naked as nature. Nights full of stars, throbbing with Congo drums. At the capital lovely ladies ambergold, mulatto politicians, warehouses full of champagne, banks full of money. A surge of black peasants who live on the land, and the foam of the cultured elite in Port-au-Prince who live on the peasants.

Port-au-Prince, city of squalid huts, unattractive sheds and shops near the water front, but charming villas on the slopes that rise behind the port. A presidential palace gleaming white among palm trees with the green hills for a backdrop. A park where bands play at night. An enormous open-air market.

“Ba moi cinq cob,” children beg of tourists in the street. Cinq cob means a nickel. They speak a patois French. The upper classes, educated abroad, speak the language of Paris. But I met none of the upper-class Haitians.

(Foreign Policy: Requiem for Port-au-Prince)

(Via William Gibson)

Posted by Jason Louv
04:46 pm