Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sousaphones on the Beach in Art and Advertising

In March, 2006, a Mixed Meters post entitled On the Religion of the Past and the Future included this picture from a perfume ad, a scratch'n-sniff insert from our Sunday paper. The picture shows a beautiful skinny topless woman in bright red pants sitting on a stool on a beautiful white sand beach as waves played about her feet. Unremarkable except that she is wrapped in a sousaphone.

The text reads:
Perry Ellis Fragrance - Robinson's/May

Topless Sousaphone Girl at the Beach selling Perfume
Maybe she's a member of an all girl topless marching band and synchronized swim team.

Here's another magazine ad from Playboy, September 1964. We see a different beautiful skinny model, not topless but wearing a skimpy bikini, while sitting side saddle on the back of a red Honda scooter. She too is wearing a sousaphone. Maybe she's on the way to a gig at the beach and the guy in the suit is the band director.

Honda motorscooter ad - woman with sousaphone
(Click any picture for an enlargement. The text of this ad is included at the end of this post so Google's bots can enjoy it too.)

The similarity of elements in these two pictures - pretty girl, sousaphone, references to the beach plus a bright red visual accent - are probably just a coincidence.

Here are two other pictures of art, one created with a sousaphones the other with a tuba (which is a sousaphone twisted differently.)

I took the first one at an art gallery in Carmel California which overlooks the Pacific. Another beach reference. The second one was sent to me by I don't remember who. I do seem to remember that it is from the garden of a local tubist - but again I don't remember who. It's not on the beach but there's plenty of water.

Sousaphone become sculpture - Carmel CA 2003
Tuba foundtain

The Honda ad:
Some tootin'

She likes to blow her own horn.

And she's got the displacement for it, too: 90cc compression ratio 8:1. And hits 6.5 hp at 8000 rpm.

There's a lot of lungpower for a lightweight.

What's more, she tops 55 mph without pressing. Delivers 165 miles to a gallon of gas. She's a four-stroker, OHV aircooled, of course, with a 4-speed foot shift. Never fails to meet you more than halfway.

Look for the new Honda 90. Always hits the right note.

For address of your nearest dealer or other information, write: American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Dept. CX, 100 West Alondra, Gardena, California.

HONDA world's biggest seller!
Here and here and here and here are links to a few women who play the tuba. I wonder what they think of the sousaphone/beach-bunny ads.

Read about the video game Sousaphone Hero

Tuba Tags: . . . . . . . . . . . .


ericnp said...

The ads, Freudian pure and simple. The tuba represents man's obsession with having a large penis and thus counters the wimpy implications of wearing perfume and riding a crappy little scooter. There is the added excitement that despite all she sees the woman is still prepared to blow.

David Ocker said...

No matter how you twist it, I have a hard time seeing the Tuba as a phallic symbol. And if I had to push the symbolism, I'd say a sousaphone was a symbol of the things feminine rather than masculine. Imagine that instead of being a painter, Georgia O'Keefe had created sculptures out of large pieces of metal tubing.

Both advertisements do trade heavily on attracting your attention by putting the sousaphone into an improbable environment.

ericnp said...

OK, maybe, but guys don't care about the large pieces of tubing. When it comes right down to it, they just care about the mouthpiece.

Domitype said...

The idea goes back a ways...