Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mr. Blandings Deconstructs His Dream World

“How was an advertising man ever to suggest to a man of medicine the particular, minute insanities that were his daily tasks? Mr. Blandings thought of the accounts that made up his professional life. Old Supine, A Blend. Mr. Blandings’ task on this account was to find 10,000 different ways of evading the true issue.
“Old Supine, unlike some other products, had a true, definite function, which it would unfailingly perform. This function was to get the consumer into a hyper-normal state: buzzed, crocked, looping, fried, boiled, plastered or stinko, according to the amount ingested and the psycho-physiology of the consumer.
“Could this delightful truth be as much as hinted? Even if there were no Federal Trade Commission, the American mores would revolt at the slightest suggestion.
“In ‘building’ ads for Old Supine, it was Mr. Blandings’ task to take such notions as aroma, flavor, body, color, bouquet, mildness, more mildness, more body, less body and play with them like an 18-month infant in a playpen until some combination satisfying to the client emerged. Good fellowship, gracious living, liberty, equality, fraternity, snobbery, professional success, breadth of experience might also be used in advocacy. But the joys of getting more or less drunk? No.”
In another moment of rueful honesty, Mr. Blandings observed that Old Supine  (“A Blend of the Superfine”) was actually composed of “…75 percent grain alcohol, plus some caramel solution for color, plus a dollop of somebody’s else’s whisky to make it taste like whisky.”
— From “Blanding’s Way” by Eric Hodgins (1950)

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