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www.corpun.com   :  Features : CP in advertising (supplementary page 1)

SPANK WHILE YOU SELL:
Corporal punishment imagery in advertising -- Supplementary page 1

By C. Farrell



This is an addendum to the Spank while you sell feature.

It contains 12 graphics that have come to hand since the original article was produced.

Stretching a point slightly, two of these are actually record covers rather than newspaper or magazine adverts. Also, in one or two cases it is a bit debatable whether the subject can properly be described as "corporal punishment", but I have included them for the sake of completeness and because readers have been kind enough to send me them.

Click on the thumbnail in each case to see the picture in full. The image will open in a new window.

Quabaug Armortred

Simple but effective pun in the caption -- "Real tough bottom" -- of an ad aimed at the shoe industry, presumably from a trade paper, for material for shoe soles. This is said to date from roughly 1961. I really like the way the art director has managed to get the boy to wear on his face just exactly the right cheekily defiant expression to point up the joke. Also, it's rather interesting that an American ad has accidentally portrayed what is almost a classic British slippering.


Patapsco Baking Powder

This is a postcard from the 1880s. Patapsco is in Maryland, USA. "Scream of Tartar" is evidently a pun of sorts. In reality, whipping a boy with a switch while trying to hold him in this very awkward position would be quite ineffectual.


Standard Fireworks

From the UK. Standard Fireworks was established in 1891 but I think this is rather more recent than that - at a guess I'd say maybe 1920s or 1930s. The company still uses the same logo virtually unchanged to this day. "You just can't beat them" has the inevitable double meaning, though quite why the cane-wielding schoolmaster can't beat these two naughty boys isn't clear. (Such a cavalier attitude to fire safety certainly wouldn't be countenanced nowadays.)


Four Square pipe tobacco

From the London News Chronicle in 1939, when even quite young men in Britain often smoked pipes. "Eight of the best" apparently refers to the fact that eight different versions of the product were available. This is rather a feeble effort, since everyone knows that "six of the best", not eight, is the normal phrase when applied to school caning. A cartoon "overgrown schoolboy" is seen putting a book down the back of his trousers, and the schoolmaster in the photo is evidently holding a cane. But the copy -- which presumably can't have seemed quite as gratingly jocose then as it does now -- has him giving out 500 lines instead, which rather negates the point of alluding to caning in the first place. Or does it mean the boy gets the lines as well as the whacking? Anyway, it seems a muddle. Perhaps agency Basil Butler was having an off day. If I'd been the client I'd have sent this one back for some clearer thinking.


Jockey Underwear

A very American ad from c.1940, rather specifically targeted at young chaps setting off for college. This is about fraternity hazing rather than CP proper, and would seem pretty bizarre to anyone not familiar with that subculture. Even those who are might be surprised to find that in those days this kind of thing was thought sufficiently respectable for a mainstream clothing brand to use it explicitly as a sales pitch. The drawing shows a blindfolded freshman stripped to his Jockey underwear and bending over to be paddled. Its caption reads: "Both brothers and hazers stoutly affirm, We'd rather paddle freshmen who squirm!", a remarkably fatuous piece of doggerel that doesn't even scan.


Kayser Gloves

Probably 1950s. The copy is illegible in this scan. The child being spanked looks happy, as though its mother's Kayser gloves somehow insulate it from the pain.


Sanka Coffee

Again, the image is too small to read the copy. UPDATE: The text is now to hand. This turns out to be a World War II ad, and the figures doing the spanking is not the woman's husband, as I first assumed, but a nanny called "War Conscience", who is punishing the housewife for wasting paper by staying up all night because she couldn't sleep after drinking coffee. Solution: drink decaffeinated coffee and save the paper for the war effort.


Chase & Sanborn Coffee

More coffee. What is it with coffee and spanking? The design is very 1960 and so is the ethos, very Rock Hudson/Doris Day. Whether husbands really ever spanked their wives in this way I neither know nor, frankly, care, but it does seem to have been a popular idea with agency creative directors in the US.


Van Heusen shirts

Another in very similar vein.


Gucci

Gucci brings us into the new century with a post-modern take on the same theme.


Schoolboys in Disgrace

This is a record sleeve, which I suppose is a kind of advertising. The album, by that most uncompromisingly British of veteran rock bands, The Kinks, dates from 1975. This cartoon image (credited to one Mickey Finn) was already the height of retro when it first appeared, and the era alluded to is probably really the late 1950s, when Kinks leader/songwriter Ray Davies and his brother Dave were at school in suburban north London. The lyrics of one song on the disc, Headmaster, clearly refer to getting the cane. From a cultural historian's point of view, it's extremely interesting that there is such a clear reference -- in the lyrics and in the drawing -- to bare-bottom canings, since even in the 1950s that was not at all the norm for ordinary local secondary schools:

Headmaster, this is my confession,
I've been such a little fool.
I've dishonoured one who trusted me,
I have broken all the rules.
I've been such a little fool.
Don't tell all my friends I bent over,
Don't tell them you made me cry.
Don't tell them I've been sacrificed,
Don't tell all my friends or I'll die.
Headmaster don't beat me I beg you,
I know that I've let you down.
Headmaster please spare me I beg you,
Don't make me take my trousers down.


Family Values

Picture on the cover of a CD featuring a number of different bands. Since the genre is "alternative hard rock", I think we can take it that the title is ironic.



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