Napoleon in Advertising

Napoleon Bonaparte’s name and image have been used to advertise a huge number of products since the Emperor’s death in 1821. In many cases, the advertised item has no obvious connection with Napoleon. One critic noted of an ad that appeared in 1899:

Liebig Beef Extract Napoleon adThis ad shows Napoleon on horseback, three pyramids, a few camels, and a sphinx. The text of the ad is: ‘Napoleon and the Sphinx were types, and represented the greatest development of the world in their times. Liebig Company’s Extract of Beef is a type of the world’s peaceful development; the scientists’ contribution to the health and comfort and mankind.’ … As a picture, the design is a success, but as advertising it is what the late lamented Bonaparte said was worse than a crime – it’s a blunder. (1)

Here are some examples of how Napoleon has appeared in advertising over the years.

Alcohol

 

Bicycles

Napoleon bicycle ad

 

Napoleon bicycle advertisement

 

Cigars

Napoleon cigar ad

Clothing

Napoleon coat ad

Coffee

napoleon coffee ad

 

Flour

Iowa

Medicine

Napoleon medicine ad

Navigation systems

Oysters

Oysters Napoleon ad

Package machines

Package Machinery Napoleon Ad

Restaurants

Soft Drinks

Vaults

Napoleon vault ad

Watches

Napoleon watch advertisement

 

Napoleon Breguet Watch ad

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  1. Printers’ Ink, Vol. 26, No. 9 (New York, March 1, 1899), p. 44.

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As a picture, the design is a success, but as advertising it is what the late lamented Bonaparte said was worse than a crime – it’s a blunder.

Printers’ Ink (1899)