few days ago, a friend sent me through a well-known social network a compilation of advertisements from the 60s of Spanish brands: I just could not believe it! Each of them amazed me more than the previous, until this one arrived: an ad from that era made by the Cruzcampo brewery. What can we say about an ad that offers beer to the youngest of the house? And who would question it, back then? If it’s just a mother, the responsible, who also has to go and buy it! Let’s see, let’s see: on the one hand we alcoholise the children, on the other hand, we send mothers to make the purchase. And the problem of the time was not alcoholism, but hunger. In this scenario, what can be better than advertising to force us to taking decisions? Yes, indeed, advertising sends (and sent), once again, the patterns that society will follow.
This ad, published in 1961 in the newspaper ABC (blessed newspaper archives!), in the midst of the dictatorship, demonstrates the prevailing sexism at that time and the social roles imposed on each member of the family. The announcement was made by an advertising studio (Ancoma) that put it in the hands of a cartoonist, whose name remains unknown (although they also made the same advertisement in a photographic version). In the composition of the scene it is clear who was going to rule only a few years after. Let me explain: the older brother, sitting in the centre of the composition, will be the one to occupy the patriarchal throne of the family (as successor to the father, of course), and around him the brothers who wait, with a glass in their hands, for him to supply them. Beer. A perfect photo as a stimulus to enhance the importance of large family at the time, as a symbol of prosperity and abundance. And for that purpose, the mother, of course, as a submissive servant will help her to be and will buy, under the imperative tone of the announcement, the best of the time for her offspring. And better: to the sound of the collateral effects of the consumption of a family-size beer. With a slogan that would make the WHO jump of its chair, Cruzcampo put the most primitive family dynamics of the time in its pocket. But they were not the only ones who used this type of advertising to reach the family’s purchase habits.
Other brands, such as San Miguel, used children to promote their beer, since these products were promoted as healthy foods (just as in the US was advertised the Seven Up drink for babies (addiction to sugar from the beginning of our lives!). Endless sexist ads, racism… were exhibited without shame, reproducing the social model imposed in the Western world and accepted without criticism by their subjects, uh, sorry, I meant “society”.
Nowadays, advertising uses social relationships as a bait, leaving aside family. Friendship relationships, couples… The family formula is no longer used, just like in that beer advertisement, except for those advertisements of toys or health and life insurance, and for family cars.
And, since I am fascinated by advertising, what and how could this ad be today? Here goes my proposal, according to the aesthetic trends of our days: flat colours, precise lines, a slogan that says something like, “Cruzcampo we are all, my friend and yep… cheers!”. But no, that hardly would pass. Better shall I update it a little more, until it sounds something like: ‘Smartphones, also for the youngest of the house’. And maybe in 50 years someone would write something like that about my proposal… Who better than advertising to show us the way? Who would ever recommend the use of mobile phones to children? At WHO, sparks would fly!