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3 Comments

culture

Vintage Toronto Ads: How to Light Up a Policeman’s Face

Instead of arguing with the law, hand them a fine cigar.

Source: the Telegram, October 4, 1912.

The main takeaway from today’s ad: when in deep doo-doo with law enforcement officials, a little bribery never hurts. Put a smile on a hard-working police officer’s face with an unexpected gift. Strike a match instead of his face. When the enjoyment of his richly flavoured, fine cigar causes him to drop his guard, take the opportunity to run like hell.

The jolly copper depicted by Yonge Street tobacconist Alfred Wilson resembles the stereotypical British bobby of the era. Chances are, after his initial delighted reaction, this policeman might have exclaimed either “Jolly good, sir!” (if it lived up to Mr. Wilson’s claims) or “What’s this all about, then?” (if it wasn’t a satisfying smoke). He also would not have looked out of place amid the Keystone Kops, who made their film debut around this time.

A century on, with smoking advertisements frowned upon, a similar sales pitch might replace the stogie with a fine, freshly baked, artisanal-quality doughnut.

Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/roy.schulze Roy Schulze

    “The jolly copper depicted by Yonge Street tobacconist Alfred Wilson resembles the stereotypical British bobby of the era.”

    Actually, it is more likely a representation of the uniform in Toronto at the time: http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/publications/files/misc/history/7.html

  • Mauer Chiarello

    The other key take-away is that in 1912, volume discounts did not exist. 5cents each or a box of 50 for $2.50, 100 for $5, 1000 for $50! So, I guess 38 would be $1.90

  • Dan

    “If a Policeman speaks unkindly to you, don’t strike him.” Probably good advice, thanks Marlborough!