Have a Coke With…

1 11 2017

Sometime around the 1960s, Coke promoted their soda with decorative caps featuring various famous people, including Cleopatra. Refreshing!

Coke bottle cap_small



Quench This

12 07 2017

Cleo Cola, the “Queen of Sparkling Drinks,” was introduced in 1935. This version of Cleopatra looks more Aztec princess than Egyptian queen. Here are a bottle and matchbook for your viewing pleasure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Cleo Cola matchbook

In a Pickle

16 12 2015

Heinz created this colorful, full-page newspaper ad to convince women that pickles would make them pretty and keep them skinny. References to famous women of history, including Cleopatra, who reputedly benefitted from their qualities, are included as proof that this really works. The jury is still out; but in the meantime, a chip or spear or two certainly can’t hurt…


Purity, Body, Flavor

12 10 2015

This 1940s/50s ad for Ballantine’s Ale explains the brand’s logo of three rings (here, they graphically function as racetracks at the base of the Sphinx along which riders on camels trot around). You can read more about America’s oldest beer on Wikipedia. I wonder if you can still order one of these brews by flashing the hand signal shown in the ad.

Ballantine's beer ad red-small

The Staff of Life

16 04 2015

This logo for Ballard’s Obelisk Flour is from a vintage piece of stationary from the Ballard & Ballard Company, c. 1910. It features the three most iconic elements of ancient Egypt – the Sphinx, a pyramid, and an obelisk. Because branding (the incorporation of a snazzy design element representative of your company into all aspects of what you do) is a great idea, the historic Ballard building in Memphis also features fabulous Egyptianizing ornamentation.

Ballard stationary-detail

Tastes Like Sunshine

17 03 2013

Packaging used to be so elegant.  Even a utilitarian object such as a rough wooden crate used to transport produce was ornamented with a colorful label to further entice the buyer to try the delicious contents.  For example – the orange.  Once a rare treat in ye olde England, it became much more widely available by the 1940s in America – though not quite to the excess we enjoy today.  If you happened to be one of the few folks in the 40s who had not yet tried an orange, this fanciful label may have made you halt in your tracks at the fruit market and say to yourself, “Wow!  That looks exciting – I must have one!”  And, a few juicy mouthfuls later, you would be daydreaming of pyramids and polychromed temples shimmering in the hot desert sun.

-Sun Disk label-small

…Look Out Stomach, Here it Comes

14 12 2012

“Do you eat?” queries this early 20th century ad for Pabst Malt Extract.  Yeah – I don’t know what this is/was either.  Being of an older vintage than today’s advertising, the answer is phrased more elegantly than “Duh”.  Apparently, not satisfied with making beer, or perhaps ridding themselves of excess ingredients, the Pabst brewing company offered the public a nourishing tonic that stimulated appetites and braced constitutions everywhere.  Or at least to those brave enough to try it.  Dubious marketing tactics aside, the graphics are particularly artistic and rendered in the classical style popular during that time period.
Pabst BR6-large

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