Hand Painted Advertising, A Forgotten Art

There are still a handful of artists out there keeping the art of hand painted, large scale advertisements alive. Only a few decades ago, all building and billboard size advertisements were painted this way. Now, most are printed on vinyl pieces and glued piece-meal to the sides of buildings or billboards in a most un-artistic and impersonal way.

Up There, by Malcolm Murray, chronicles a group of artists working on a Stella Artois campaign in NYC. The campaign portrays the Belgian Pouring Ritual in a series of  nine 20 x 50 ft paintings on the side of a SoHo building. All nine paintings were  made in 21 days and the end results are captured beautifully at the end of this short documentary.

Champale Anyone?

Not too long ago I discovered Gono.com, a site that, among other things, chronicles the evolution of print advertising and has thousands of magazine ads spanning the entire history of the medium. As a marketing geek, all be it a search marketing one, I find myself pouring through these old ads for inspiration and, more often than not, laughs. I thought that I would share my most recent gem of advertising history – Champale. Never hear of Champale? If you haven’t, then shame on you. It is, after all, the Champagne of malt liquors. Some quick background: Champale has been in constant production since 1939 and, not too surprisingly, is currently made by Pabst Brewing Company. It comes in four, yes four, flavors: Golden, Pink, Dry, and Red Berry, which makes it the kool-aid of alcoholic beverages. But this post is not about the drink, it is about the marketing strategy. Champale ads from 1964 through 1989 and it is a fascinating study of how a company adjusts it’s message to two separate demographics. It is also an interesting look at how white “Mad Men” viewed black culture and how they tailored their ads to show a lifestyle that their studies probably told them black people aspired to. Personally, I am white and I was not around then so I have no idea if these ads represent the idea of a dream lifestyle for the average black person circa 1966 but I have a feeling that they probably do not.