It took more than five decades, but Botany 500 is finally getting the props from me that they so richly deserve. Well, their advertising agency anyway.
I speak of this 1960 ad, which seemed awfully familiar when I spotted it on an eBay auction yesterday.
Faithful readers of mine will remember this as a modified version of a recruitment poster from the Quasi-War (1798-1800), as first seen in my gallery of wartime recruiting posters.
That is some damn fine design and ad copy right there, and I think it deserves to be typed out for your enjoyment.
TO ALL BRAVE, HEALTHY, ABLE BODIED, AND WELL DISPOSED YOUNG MEN who have any inclination to express their individuality, maintain freedom of thought and dress, resist the pressure to conform to mob rule, THE WILES AND BLANDISHMENTS OF FEMALES determined to dictate their choice of apparel, and the connivance of certain parties to unfairly tax their good taste by inflating the price of fashionable attire beyond the limits of REASON AND EQUITABLE PROFIT and despite all precedent and public protest: TAKE NOTICE.
Daroff, tailor, of the City of Philadelphia (The Cradle of Freedom in Menswear) offers to one and all, whigs, tories, and free-thinkers alike, INDEPENDENCE FROM COMPROMISE. Neither styles that make grown men ludicrous, nor workmanship that tries their patience. Rather, a well-tempered balance combining the much-desired AUTHENTIC NATURAL CUT with the lasting benefit of HONEST TAILORING at a fair, sensible, and equitable price calculated to GIVE SATISFACTION. BOOTLEGGERS, CHARLATANS, IMITATORS, AND COUNTERFEITERS TAKE WARNING: all Daroff of Philadelphia garments are clearly marked to prevent fraud and each and every one carries THE ‘BOTANY’ 500 LABEL as a mark of pride and a proof of QUALITY AND SINCERE INTENT. ‘BOTANY’ 500 tailored by Daroff clothes are sold only by apparel stores of HIGH REPUTE and EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN CATERING TO GENTLEMEN OF GOOD TASTE and democratic sympathies. Prices begin at $65.00 and if your local merchant is not one selected to carry ‘Botany’ 500 Clothing, write: H. Daroff & Sons, Inc., 2300 Walnut Street, Philadelphia 3, Pennsylvania, or 200 Fifth Avenue, New York 10, N.Y. for the name of the store most convenient to you. Prices slightly higher in the West.
Actually, don’t write to that address in Philly, Botany 500 hasn’t been there in years. But still, this is a fantastic advertisement.