Sunday, May 15, 2016

New Yorker Cartoonists for Libby's Gentle Press Tomato Juice

We all love a good print ad, but the fourteenth Art Directors Annual of Advertising Arts from 1935 doesn't quite get it right. It diligently collects artwork exhibited at the Art Directors Club in the spring of 1935, but the artwork is presented devoid of advertising copy making it difficult to discern the full context.

Peter Arno's contribution shows several generations of a family crowded into an opera box. The caption is not supplied and we are left to wonder exactly how this works as an advertisement for Libby's. Perhaps the matron is alarmed that the bar won't have enough Libby's gentle press tomato juice available for all at the intermission.

Peter Arno, Libby's advertising art

Well, here's the actual ad, as it appeared in the New Yorker and as it perhaps should have appeared in the Art Directors Annual:
"Heavens, Horatio! I forgot to order that case of gentle press Tomato Juice!"
Peter Arno,
 Advertisement for Libby's gentle press tomato juice
The New Yorker, December 8, 1934, page 101


The same page also includes advertising art by Syd Hoff for the very same client—Libby's, advertising agency—J. Walter Thompson, and art director—Charles R. Prilic. Again, we aren't given the caption or the ad copy, but one can guess that the finicky boarder's rejecting the run-of-the-mill nourishment will result in the maid running out for some delightful Libby's gentle press tomato juice instead.
Syd Hoff, Libby's advertising art
Again, the actual ad was published in the New Yorker:
"He says he wants to start with gentle press tomato juice every day!"
Syd Hoff, Advertisement for Libby's gentle press tomato juice
The New Yorker, February 2, 1935, page 64



Other first-rate New Yorker cartoonists also contributed to the campaign, including Otto Soglow, William Steig, and James Thurber. Not too shabby, right?

William Steig demonstrates how to put a servant to good use:
"...And Parkins, bring me a tall one of gentle press tomato juice."
William Steig,
 Advertisement for Libby's gentle press tomato juice

The Saturday Evening Post, October 13, 1934

It was simultaneously published in the New Yorker:
"...And Parkins, bring me a tall one of gentle press tomato juice."
William Steig,
 Advertisement for Libby's gentle press tomato juice

The New Yorker, October 13, 1934, page 85
http://archives.newyorker.com/?iid=17935&crd=0&searchKey=gentle%20press#folio=084




James Thurber addresses the thorny problem of How much Libby's gentle press tomato juice is too much?
"Desist, Oswald! —three is a sufficiency!"
James Thurber, Advertisement for Libby's gentle press tomato juice
The Saturday Evening Post, April 6, 1935

There is also a black and white version from the New Yorker:
"Desist, Oswald! —three is a sufficiency!"
James Thurber, Black-and-white advertisement for Libby's gentle press tomato juice
The New Yorker, September 14, 1935, page 75

Finally, Otto Soglow demonstrates how a top notch beverage can disarm even royalty.
"Hey nonny!"
Otto Soglow, Advertisement for Libby's gentle press tomato juice
The New Yorker, November 9, 1935, page 61


Hmm. Shouldn't that be "Hey nonny nonny?" Anyway, there you have it. Whatever gentle press tomato juice may be, the New Yorker's artists seem to know how to promote it to a sophisticated audience.


February 2, 2017 Update:  Arno's 1934 drawing for Libby's is adapted from a cartoon he drew for the New Yorker in 1928. Even the captions are related.
Peter Arno, The New Yorker, November 3, 1928

"Heavens, Horatio! I forgot to order that case of gentle press Tomato Juice!"

Note:  By the way, anyone possessing additional information relevant to this post—original artwork perhaps, other Libby's ads by New Yorker artists, long-lost archives of J. Walter Thompson—please get in touch via email with AB–for Advertising Beverages—in the subject line. Then feel free to follow the aqua links to explore Attempted Bloggery's informative posts based on today's keywords. Hey nonny nonny!







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