Tag Archives: choking the pelican

Pen Ads before Madison Avenue

What on earth is this old Pelikan ink ad trying to convey in its message. Write with bird vomit? We strangle birds so you can write? Ah, the joys of marketing before Madison Avenue.

Germans might have mastered marketing luxury items in this day and age…look no further than Montblanc, Mercedes and BMW…but the early days weren’t quite as refined.

Quite possibly my favorite pen or ink ad of all time is this one from Pelikan.

What on earth is the message they are trying to convey?

Fill you pen with bird vomit…? Or, we strangle birds so you can write…?

The text of the ad translates to read, “Pelikan-Ink” Gunther Wagner is the man who took over the company in 1871. Below his name are the cities Hanover (where Pelikan was founded, which the Germans spell with two n’s) and Vienna, which is spelled Wien in German.

While we’re questioning everything about the ad, why is there a naked boy riding the bird? And of all things, why is he wearing an oversized hat? Why not some lederhosen? Please, put on some lederhosen!

Given the American euphemism of self gratification known as “choking the chicken,” we grow even more disturbed by this ad.