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Suntory Red Whisky (2) - "Red Can Make You a Whale!" (1967)

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. Translation by Chris Bunting, image from V. Valenti.

The text reads: 

"Red can make you a whale! A really grand whale! Drink like a whale. To be able to drink a lot just like a whale! The art of manhood! In the past, that art required prolonged periods of samurai training. It is all so easy now. Ultra soft Red is here! Even those who are new to whisky can drink Red easily. Without wasting time you can quickly become a grand whale."

Afraid you’ll be outdrank by your other male peers at happy hour? Enter Suntory Red! The ad promises a smooth-tasting and easy-to-drink whisky. To visually convey this, the ad designer made a witty play on the object proportions here (a technique also observed in other Suntory Red ads of this era).

In the poster, a man’s face is depicted emerging from a whale, ready to gobble down a glass of whisky. If you look closely, you might notice that the ice in the glass is shaped like a mountain. Yet zoomed out, even a typically mighty mountain now looks easily surmountable in the tiny whisky glass its encased in. No doubt, a reference to the ultra-soft nature of the Suntory Red – a whisky one can easily gulp down like a grand whale.