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Suntory Red Whisky (1) - Drink? Or drunk? (1966)

(Translation by Chris Bunting, image source: V. Valenti)

This vintage ad print belongs to the 1960s, and is part of a series of advertisements for Suntory’s Red whisky that was rolled out in Japan.

The text reads:

"Drink? Or drunk? You drink thuggish whisky. You lose your memory. How shameful. Hangover? What suffering! But Red is nice to you. It entices you with lightest of light tastes, and you can drink glass after glass. You will not find yourself drunk. The secret is pure spirit...!"

It’s not uncommon to see Suntory ads emphasising how light and approachable their whiskies are to drink, especially in comparison with heavier “thuggish” whiskies. After all, as we’ve explored previously, Japanese consumers tend to prefer smoother, milder and more delicate tasting whiskies. 

“Hangover? What suffering! But Red is nice to you”, the ad coaxes… I love the details of the stars and the moon at the top of the poster, a gentle promise to the Suntory Red drinker of restful sleep to come. It’s also a nice touch how the advertiser shrunk the proportion of the whisky glasses the men are drinking. The emoji-sized glasses does well to conveys just how effortless a glass of Suntory Red is to drink - one glass feels like barely a sip!