Life Story of Sir Thomas Lipton
The Power of Advertising

Early cartoon displayed in Lipton’s shops It was with stunts and advertising that Lipton was to make his mark. He employed the talents of Willie Lockhart, a leading cartoonist of the day, to produce weekly posters for him. One of the most famous shows a "typical Irishman, knee breeches, cutaway coat, billycock hat, shillelagh an' all an' all" with a pig, its eyes full of tears, slung in a sack over his shoulder". The caption reads "What's the matter with the pig, Pat?" The Irishman replies "Sure, Sirr [sic], he's an orphan so, out of pity, I'm taking him to Lipton's!" (Crampsey, p32)

Lipton subsequently took to buying pigs in the market, tying ribbons to their tails, and having them driven through the streets under a banner which declared them to be "Lipton's Orphans". Each day the pigs were driven to his shop by a different route, bringing in new customers.

Cartoon of ‘Paddy’ and with a pig The opening for each new Lipton shop was cause for newspaper adverts, posters and parades. Lipton himself would be at each opening to offer prizes to the first customers. In 1881 Lipton announced that he was to import the world's largest cheese from New York. Apparently, 800 cows were milked for six days and the labour of 200 dairymaids was necessary to make this enormous cheese. The streets were lined with spectators cheering the giant cheese on its way to Lipton's new store in High Street. As an added touch Lipton announced, since it was Christmas, his cheese, like clootie dumpling or Christmas puddings, would contain sovereigns and half sovereigns. When the cheese went on sale, the last piece was sold within two hours of the store opening. These giant cheeses became part of Lipton's Christmas displays. One was so large that the manager of Lipton's shop in Nottingham hired an elephant from the local circus to transport it through the town.

By 1890 Lipton was a very rich and successful man. He remarked, later in life, that the only politics he had were to open a new shop every week.