Vintage Ad Archive: Here's To New Year's!

NewYears1933to1934
NewYears1933to1934

Ah, New Year's. It's a time of looking ahead, of fresh beginnings, of wiping the slate fresh and starting anew, once we all recover from our crippling hangovers.It's a time of fireworks, of celebration, of champagne toasts and Auld Lang Syne and confetti and little those little plastic and cardboard horns that some overly-jovial friend will insist on tooting incessantly until you want to throw your drink in his face.

AlcProfNYEUshers1910
AlcProfNYEUshers1910

And though New Year's Eve is historically one of the most alcohol-associated holidays, there have been surprisingly few ads based around calendar change-overs.As I explained in an earlier column, it's most likely because companies preferred to concentrate their end-of-year advertising budgets to the surefire blockbuster of Christmas (an occasion that provides plenty of easy visual hooks, and ask comes pre-packaged with weeks of lead-up, taking in shopping and office parties and other forms of boozable celebrations).But, once again, with a bit of hard work and a little luck, I've managed to emerge from my archives with a small batch of materials that have used New Year's as their selling point, and assembled a modest gallery for you to enjoy as you get your own cork-popping festivities underway!

Vat 69's 1936 ad, covering both Xmas and New Year's in one fell swoop
Vat 69's 1936 ad, covering both Xmas and New Year's in one fell swoop
Signet, 1940
Signet, 1940

The oldest example of a New Year's ad that I've run across is the following, an internationally-themed newspaper clipping from early in the 20th Century.

Calvert went for straight-ahead punnery with this 1937 missive.
Calvert went for straight-ahead punnery with this 1937 missive.

And in the years following, other Whiskey companies followed suit, each coming up with their own unique spin on the subject matter.

Schenley, 1945
Schenley, 1945

Of course, it wasn't all Whiskey and wildlife. Martell produced a couple notable Holiday campaigns at the tail end of the '30s...

Martell, 1937
Martell, 1937
Martell, 1938
Martell, 1938

While Cointreau got a piece of the ringing-in action with this festive missive.

Cointreau, 1934
Cointreau, 1934

Fleischmann's took a relatively understated approach, eschewing parties and dancing in favor of a quiet evening by the fireplace, sipping both Whiskey and Gin by turns.  (Which surely seemed like a good idea at the time, but leads me to suspect they greeted their first morning of 1956 with quite a pounding headache.)

Fleischmann's, 1955
Fleischmann's, 1955

It's also worth noting that the recognition of New Year's as a time of revelry hasn't historically been limited to us here in the USA – and though I usually try to stay focused on the American industry, these two Jazz-Age French ads for Byrrh Wine Cocktails are too perfect to pass up.

Byrrh, 1933
Byrrh, 1933
Byrrh, 1934
Byrrh, 1934

So as you can see, there are plenty of fine ways one can drink away the change-over. (And though I'm not sure why someone would be joining us here at Alcohol Professor if they're not the imbibing kind, I'm also aware that all good hosts provide non-intoxicating options for their guests – so I'm going to leave this here too, just in case.)

7up, circa 1950s
7up, circa 1950s

Anyhow, I guess that just about wraps it up for this latest trawl through the archives. I hope you've liked this little glimpse at the anticipations, celebrations, and resolutions of an earlier age, looking back at the ways we used to look ahead, and we hope you enjoy your own celebrations, whatever form they take. May you have a safe, happy, and healthy time tonight, and we'll see you in 2015!

NewYearsPigs
NewYearsPigs