Friday, April 27, 2012

Asphalt Salad

LJ Vintage Ads
Recipe: to crushed rock, add just the right amount of asphalt. Blend and mix like a salad...To improve this recipe add Shell Research, and you will have the makings of a superb modern road.

But not, perhaps, the makings of a superb modern dinner. Unless you live in The Asphalt Jungle.* And even then, how are you going to juggle a bunch of little fancy cruets out in the middle of a jungle?

What in tarnation** (so to speak) is this ad trying to do? make us think about cooking with asphalt and tar and goopy bits of rocks and pebbles? Is this supposed to make Shell Oil look appetizing? If so, why? Why?

John McAdam dislikes Asphalt Salad
And why blame John McAdam? John Loudon McAdam (1756-1836) was a Scottish engineer who invented the process by which roadways could be made nice and smooth. This process of macadamization involved layering gravel on top of flat stones. Good thing the Shell people didn't think about that too closely, or else this salad would have been followed by a layer cake made out of flat stones and gravel.

*The Asphalt Jungle (1950) is a film noir about a jewel heist; John huston directed it and Marilyn Monroe has a very small role in it, too. It's considered to be one of the most important crime films of the 1950s. Filled, you see, with tough guys. I'll bet they ate rocks and Shell Oil for breakfast!

**Late 18th century variation of "darnation" which was a euphemism for "damnation." See here, for example. And just what John McAdam (and you and I, too) might say if he was served this salad.

Note: There's a large version of this ad over at LiveJournal - just click the link to go check it out.

3 comments:

Marcheline said...

OMG - truly smart advertising, but ewwwwww! When you first look at it!

Lidian said...

Marcheline - I know, it is really creative, but in an UGH NO kind of way.

concrete repairs in calgary said...

It is a primordial sluidge, but it is applied steaming hot and let dry in the sun. A very dirty job indeed.