Selling coffee with caricatures (1906)

Images of exotic “others” were an important feature of German advertising as it became a prominent feature of consumer culture in the latter part of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Such images were used to sell products from the colonial world, like coffee  and chocolate, as well as products with a “humorous” association, like rubber tires or shoeblack (LINK) or soap (LINK). After 1900, as advertisers tried to create catchy and memorable ads, they relied increasingly on caricatures that reduced their figures to essential “racial” characteristics drawn from colonialist rhetoric and, as in the ad here, from the American blackface minstrel show. They did so because racist images were recognizable and flattering to their white audiences but also because the striking color contrasts would draw viewers’ attention. 

Jeff Bowersox


“All eyes are on it
Every mouth is full of its praise!”
Andre Hofer’s Carlsbad Coffee
Cheap and won’t be beat

Source: Hannoversches Tageblatt (18 September 1906).

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Selling coffee with caricatures (1906) by Jeff Bowersox is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at