The occidental tourist

Lest we jaded post-moderners think we have a cultural monopoly on cringe-worthy marketing, it’s always worth taking a glance back at those tacky bastards who have come before. See below for an example of one such scheme inspired by the undignified willingness to lower standards for the sake of making more money. It may be tempting to think of this as a postcard from the edge (and the artwork is indeed beautifully surreal), but in fact it is a genuine article from the early 20th century which represents an entire category of “absinthe-like” products intended to mollify absinthe critics and consumers in equal measure. This particular venture failed to gain popularity, but the success of products such as anisette and various anise-flavored products in the 1910s and beyond is proof of the efficacy such willingness to compromise combined with a deluge of marketing can have.

The text at the top of this postcard translates to: “Chinese-Absinthe. Patent pending at the Faculté.” The text at the bottom translates to: “Chinoise-Absinthe. Replicate the advantages of absinthe but without the inconveniences.”