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Alcohol Marketing, before and after prohibition

When the Volstead Act was repealed in 1933, prohibition ended, and the alcohol industry was poised for a huge comeback. But as noted in the Alcohol chapter of the FADS Book, advertising was almost non-existent. American producers had been decimated, and while Scottish, Irish and Canadian distillers were ready to step up to the task, it would be years of slow, resentful rebuilding for this industry in the US.

Eventually though, the industry did rebuild, and industry leaders were coming up with all kinds of tricks to stay top-of-mind:

“Schenley president Lewis Rosenstiel, jumped on the idea of training parrots to say “Drink Old Quaker”. They purchased 6 parrots and sequestered them in one of their New York offices with a tutor, who would repeat “Drink Old Quaker” to the parrots at different times of the day. Rosenstiel envisioned purchasing 5,000 parrots to send to bars in the United States. These parrots would, at the least, make people think about Schenley and Old Quaker. However, the trainer had no success at getting the birds to speak the phrase. It became an embarrassment to the people at Schenley.”

I guess posting on social media isn’t the exact same thing as having trained birds reminding bar patrons to drink Old Quaker, but this early attempt at “just in time advertising” is fascinating none-the-less isn’t it? Before they ever had the true capability to do it, marketers were looking for ways to generate word of mouth, to go viral, to be there right when we make a purchasing decision. Because it works. And there’s nothing we can do about it.

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They've got their hooks in you. 

FADS rise quickly, burn hot and fall out. They say you're fat, you're no fun, you need to relax, and you might even die alone. In fact, FADS bank on the fact that you already believe all of that. 

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