Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ad: Gilbey's Gin

1938 Gilbey's Gin, Manila Club
 1938, American was still in the grips of the Great Depression but if you had a little money you could book passage on a ship to Manila, or if you really had some scratch you could fly on one of the new Pan-Am Clippers out of San Fransisco.  In Manila, buoyed by an exchange rate of 2 pesos to the dollar, Americans could live it up, tropical style.

Gilbey's Gin has been available in the Philippines for a long time and to this day is still the best brand available.  This 1938 ad features the exclusive Manila Club that is located on the ground floor of the Manila Hotel.  The artist knew very well the position of landmarks in Manila because he accurately depicts the Intramuros in the background and just for fun he threw in an oxcart being pulled by a carabao. 

Now here's the item I was talking about the other day, with ad artists adding something to the picture that has little to do with the product being sold.  Look closely at the waiter, his expression is tired, sullen, maybe sick of waiting on too many drunk Americans that we can see reveling in the back.  Or maybe it's something more political, a microcosm of the Philippine desire for Independence.  In 1938 the Philippines had Commonwealth status with the USA which granted them their own congress and president but gave little else in freedoms.  Full political freedom was still 8 years and a World War away.  Even after 1946 the USA continued to exert economic influence on the islands well into the late 60's.

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