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04 March 2014

Hanns Lohrer: Pipe Man, Ad-Man Extraordinaire

       -Posted by eric-

If you were to ask me to name three advertisements, for anything, mind you, and not just automobiles, the first three to come into mind would be the old Jordan “Somewhere West of Laramie” (a holy grail of copywriting), a particular old Dodge Charger commercial (memorable for shamelessly taking cheekiness unto the point of absurdity), and the works of one Hanns Lohrer as a whole.

We’re all familiar with the stereotypes surrounding pipes, and those of us who enjoy them. If we have beards, they’re expected to be grey, or at least well-grizzled; we’re to be old-fashioned, steady, inclined to ponder (even to the point of becoming ponderous), restful, quiet, staid, so on and so forth.

While I can’t speak knowledgeably as to whether or not Stuttgart artist and graphic designer Hanns Lohrer himself may have borne or resembled any of these archetypal aspects, I can say that his life’s most famous work certainly didn’t. And that’s because it looked like this:

Advertising by Hanns Lorher


I’m not a “Porsche guy” – four out of the five vehicles that I’ve owned have been in excess of 18 feet in length, and all have moved out of their own way courtesy of cast-iron V8 engines displacing a minimum of 300 cubic inches. Yet I can’t deny that from the first time I was exposed to Lohrer’s advertising work for Porsche, I was taken. His creations were vibrant and confident, without forced affectation; the stuff a good life is made of. They spoke to that boyish spark in a man’s soul, the one which remembers most fondly those times when with a wink or smile Father or a favorite uncle might have said, “Alright kid, just don’t tell your mother.”


Advertising by Hanns Lorher


Hanns Lohrer’s artwork is remembered today for his ability to speak to such a spirit. He was good at it, and he had to be good at it – uniquely good at it. That is because attention-grabbing advertising materials were a full one-eighty from Porsche’s own planned approach to building recognition. Word of mouth and face-to-face customer exposure with the automobiles themselves were what Ferry Porsche was comfortable with, trusting that reputation would spread within the sports automobile driver community. Yet Hanns Lohrer’s work wowed and wooed, with brilliant, clean, quite often deceptively simple images, depicting not only Porsche as a car, but Porsche as a chosen mode of transportation in a world made much larger and more exciting. In many of the most famous Lohrer materials, the automobile itself appears only in small scale,

Advertising by Hanns Lorher


…or only in part,

Advertising by Hanns Lorher


…or even not at all.

Advertising by Hanns Lorher


Unlike Ferry Porsche’s far quieter, more old-fashioned approach, Hanns’s work captured the attention not only of those already within the small, exclusive community of sports-car drivers, but those who might have aspired to be a part of it as well. No doubt his work also inspired quite a few lads, and ladies alike, as yet still too young to even get behind a wheel.

Advertising by Hanns Lorher

Even in his old company headshot Hanns appears to have been playing with the themes seen in his work; the curious forward posture, that satisfaction in his smile, the line and angle of the pipe he holds, and the roundness of the chosen briar’s bowl and the streamlined shape of its stem remembering the lines and contours of the performance automobiles he helped make icons.

Crazy Eddie? I can live with or without home electronics, insane deals or not. Last summer’s biggest blockbuster? Odds are I still haven’t even heard of it. But Hanns’ work, like the restless ad-copy prose of Edward S. Jordan before him, was the stuff of life – that was its theme, and that was its essence. That’s what makes it enjoyable simply as art. And that’s the kind of thing we shouldn’t do without; art, and life, for art and life’s own sake. Can’t say I was surprised to find out he was also pipe man, stereotypes be damned.

Eric Squires: Copywriter

 Eric Squires: Copywriter

Posted by eric at 2:32 PM | Link | 0 comments

26 May 2011

Pipes in Advertising
 Sailor Jerry Rum

       -Posted by adam-

It's been a while since I wrote a blog. Waiting for the right content, though, is what I'm leaning toward. Don't get me wrong - there is a ton of stuff to write about, but I remember seeing this advertisement over a month ago and just happened across it again this morning while filling up on gas when my cell phone was handy to snap a picture. Pipes were pretty much a standard manly thing to have in advertisements half a century ago; including (not by no means restricted to) grilling outdoors, sports equipment, rotary lawn mowers, camping equipment, and anything else that projected a positive image of "dad", "family man" or "successful bachelor". Pipes made the public aware that a man was choosing the right item because the smoker in the picture always had a smile on his face.

Needless to say, advertisements like this are rather rare these days. Some have a feeling that pipes are considered "retro" and have strongly come back on the markets along with fedoras, straight razors, and other implements that faded away in the last thirty or forty years in favor of new gadgets. I remember going to golf courses about ten years ago and seeing putters and clubs that were made with wooden shafts as a way to bring back something classic and older during a time when everything seemed to be composite or graphite. I had a set of clubs with metal shafts that got me the stink-eye from some people, but those are back now too! Many people growing up these days that didn't have a father smoking a pipe might have seen their first briars on a rack at an antique store next to the same wooden-shaft golf clubs that made a return to the market. There has been a recent renaissance of pipe design and other hand-made objects from individuals more so than large companies. As the old saying goes "What's old is new again", and we are seeing this in a lot of media. This particular advertisement is cool on so many levels. An older man smoking a pipe while applying a tattoo shows that he is comfortable with himself, his image, and extremely confident in his work. Tobacco and rum were partners in crime and entertainment for centuries; not to mention two of the most important things in the western hemisphere in the 18th-century. Given that this is an extended weekend when many of us wish to fire up the grill and have a bowl with a drink, my desire to hunt up this brand of rum and enjoy some good times is mainly derived from how good the advertisement can be.

"GOOD WORK AIN'T CHEAP. CHEAP WORK AIN'T GOOD". This is true for pipes, booze, tattoos, and anything else you wish to compare when quality really does make a difference.

Posted by adam at 11:08 AM | Link | 1 comment



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