Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sapolio soap ad

Soap advertisement from McClure's Magazine (1897).

When I see these types of old advertisements the forgiving person in me wants to believe that such images are from a simpler, perhaps stupider time. One can not successfully assert that it is not fair to judge people of a past time for their perceptions. I say it is. By that logic people of 2060 would forgive the transgressions of the societies of 2008 because we did not know any better? Pick up and read any history book and one quickly realizes that the government, media and average person new exactly what they were doing in marginalizing, demonizing and ridiculing other cultures and people.

The ad is made inexcusable even in 1897 by going further than the using a simple caricature representing an ethnic group to pitch a product. No one in editorial, marketing or the art department understood that showing forcibly displaced refugee Native Americans wandering about the Reservation, wearing their government-issue blanket, passing graffiti depicting a happy Indian drunk on cleanliness and firewater was demeaning and offensive? I don't buy that at all. It almost looks like a book illustration adapted for advertising use.

As horrible as the advertisement is the mind-set behind it yet exists and still permeates modern advertising. Different groups are targeted but race and culture and a "not us" mentality are still used to sell products with little change, except now humor is used to replace Manifest Destiny. This allows companies to distance their product from the ad or claim their focus group thought the spots were relevant to their experience just in case anyone notices. It would only take a little updating for the Sapolio advertisement to be relevant to today's political and cultural climate and therefore be perfectly acceptable to Southerners and Republicans.

The right kind of cleansing would bring them heathens next to the right God. Maybe end the war if they would just quit acting all stone age and maybe bathe once in a while. Except, we all know what would really bring about a quick end to the comflict, don't we?

Maybe using a more fashionable group will work.

Now that's an easy stereotype to attack. The creative and imaginative are always a great target to belittle and make me feel superior. Too be honest though, all the cons I went to it wasn't the fans that were unwashed and smelly. One certain comic creator smelled so bad I wasn't able to complete a sale of an old Ditko Spider-Man comic to him and had to leave the area.

Show the apes some love...

Too much monochrome. This place needs a dash of color.


  1. How dare you! If you watched "Planet of the Apes" then you know that it is Taylor that constantly needed a good hosing down, and not the apes! And as president of the NRA and a loyal GOP supporter, Taylor has been hosing down the rest of you ever since.


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