We at Bourbon and Banter love classic whiskey ads. A while ago, I stumbled across some pretty amazing Seagram’s ads from back in the 1940’s. These ads predict what the future may look like for the sophisticated Seagram’s drinker. Apparently, they are men only…sorry, but it was the 1940’s. Many of the ads include fanciful stuff like atomic powered farms and vacuum tube power plants, and some are amazingly prophetic. This clearly shows that discriminating whiskey drinkers have always been the renascences thinkers of the new millennium.
By today’s standards, I guess Seagram’s V.O. is a relatively common spirit, and I have to admit, Canadian Whisky is not my first, choice – although it is a reasonable substitute when there is no bourbon for a Manhattan. In 1913 by Joseph E. Seagram himself developed the V.O. blend. The story has it that he developed the special blend to celebrate his son’s wedding. I guess this is why you find it at so many wedding bars.
A few of the ads focus on food retail, which I guess makes sense for a spirit that is often enjoyed with meals. Between food trucks and home delivery grocery shopping, they pretty much got it right. The supermarket of the future includes cashless transactions and drive-in pickup. Today we call it “Click and Collect.” There is even a facsimile to internet shopping having them packed and delivered to you.
You have to love their early idea of sports bars. I cannot believe how right on they were with big screen, flat panel TV’s. Remember that television did not gain mass popularity until the ‘50’s. Perhaps as a liquor company like Seagram’s has good insight on how sports and whiskey go together. Seagram’s view appears more sedate and civilized than the sports bar I frequent. I have two big problems with their concept, male only and hockey? It was the ‘40’s, and I guess it is not surprising that a purveyor of Canadian Whisky chose to feature hockey.
They ran several ads with ideas showing a pretty sharp focus on the future of communications. These include from cell phones, Skype, and internet news delivery. It would be hard to imagine a better prediction in the context of that time.
They also predicted some things that it is hard to imagine they saw coming.
It was shocking to see a version of Amazon delivery drones. I would have thought that a parachute would have been the obvious choice. This futurist even got the analog to a helicopter right.
How about 3-D Movies? Perhaps not revolutionary, but the first “talkies” only came out about a decade before. Color movies would not see wide usage until the early 1950’s. By the way, no one in the theater appears to be wearing 3-D glasses.
Perhaps it would surprise even Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk to see that Seagram’s predicted commercial space flight 50 years before them. While, it is true that rockets had been in use as weapons in World War II. But we wouldn’t see the first manned space flight until Yuri Gagarin, made his famous flight in 1961.
These are some of the ads I found particularly interesting. There are many more than these from Seagram’s and other sources on the internet. All I can say is the future remains bright, drink whisky.
Jim Knudsen has lived in every region of the United States, traveled the world, and always enjoyed spirits along the way. While he has sampled local spirits in 50 countries on 6 continents, he always comes home to bourbon. Jim is an accomplished global sales and marketing executive, with a degree in Physics from Michigan State University and an MBA from Baldwin-Wallace College. Growing up in Michigan, in a household rich with the experience of enjoying drink. He now lives in Georgia with his wife Karen, the love of his life, his personal editor, and style consultant. When not drinking bourbon he likes to golf, reading, and enjoys professional football and boxing. Actually, these are more often enjoyed while drinking bourbon. His four great kids, with families of their own, have blessed him with 6 grandchildren. While coming to bourbon late in life, he is working diligently to catch up.
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