Classic Soda Ad Critique

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Fru Blod Apelsin

I am not sure what the caption reads on this photo. I think it translates to something about a Mrs. Blood Orange. That is a little weird so I decided to call her Maria because of her Latin flair, slicked black hair, and tan skin.

General description

Maria came on what looks like a playing card “from the 1950’s issued by the brewery Sandwalls (not in existence anymore) promoting their soft drinks.”L1 Right from the start, you can see that classic 50’s style. It is grainy and each color is separate and distinct.

The shapes are quite basic with the exception of the shadows in her blouse. She boils down to a big circle on a stick. Her lips form the shape of a lemon and her hair looks like two black cotton balls around her neck.

There is a complete absence of lines, except if you include her nose and eyes, which are squiggles and an L, respectively.

Each color is solid, without gradients or patterns. In fact, the only texture in this piece is from the card and the printing. Maria is mostly earth tones—tan and mustard—with a little red in her lips, hair, and shirt. Even for its age, the colors are still fully saturated, vibrant, and cheery.
What is the real message?

Analysis and interpretation

Maria’s arms frame her face and balance the center (oval portion) by splitting it into thirds both ways. The bright red lips focus your attention on her big smile and happy face. In fact, I think it is the splashes of red her and there that keep the whole piece looking very active. It is as if Maria is waiting for us to get off a cruise ship and run right up into her arms.

The only blue in the image is in her shirt, surrounded by a pink. The colors are certainly more subdued here, which puts a lot of emphasis on the phrase “Fru Blod Apelsin,” which I believe translates to Mrs. Blood Orange. Oddly enough, the text feels balanced, even though it is off center. However, if you use the splashes of red as the frame, the text lines up perfectly.
I am so happy!

My take: great advertising

To me the image boils down to “happy face” and “Blood Orange.” If I were to take a guess, I would say that Sandwalls is trying to say, “If you drink our orange soda, you will be happy!” I love this whole thing.

She looks good in vectors

I thought it would be fun to trace our little Maria in Inkscape to get a feel for the details. The result is fun.



L1David at the Klockarp Institute, Sandwalls Happy Families, Flickr set