The Sports Illustrated Index: Advertising


We got to thinking that the much-ballyhooed swimsuit issue, published in Sports Illustrated every winter, might shed some light on trends in the economy, alcohol beverage advertising, and print advertising more generally. In the past, the swimsuit issue has been a prime place for beer and spirits advertising.

This year’s issue is 178 pages, chock full of bikinis. Only 7.3 pages are devoted to alcohol beverage ads. This is nearly a 50% drop off from two years ago, when the economy (and print advertising) were flying a lot higher.

A big part of this is due to one brand. Budweiser advertising was at seven pages in 2007 and down to a skimpy two pages in 2009.

Almost all of the 2009 ads seem to be customized for the swimsuit edition. Back in 2007, it was about half and half. There is essentially no wine advertising in any of these three issues, and beer accounts for 2/3 while spirits are at about 1/3.

Herewith, two of the better alcbev-centric ads tailored to this magazine.


The text on this Glenlivet Scotch ad may be hard to read, and is worth repeating. It says:

THE GLENLIVET was ESTABLISHED when SWIMWEAR was a lady’s SAFEGUARD from the elements. Back in 1824, even the SLIGHTEST display of ANKLE could put the FIRE in any gentleman’s HEART. While such MODESTIES have been cast aside, FORTUNATELY, the QUINTESSENCE of good taste is still to be ENJOYED with the SINGLE MALT that STARTED IT ALL.


They are both from 2007 and the later ones don’t seem as good.

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