12 Crazy Old Ads


Trisha sends these along, and they are indeed… interesting. Major themes seem to be misogyny and somehow harming children.

About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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16 Responses to 12 Crazy Old Ads

  1. rootlesscosmo says:

    I think the “start cola early” ad is a spoof, and the “killed in action” seems to be promoting an organization called World Peaceways; since the text mentions the 1914-18 war as the horror that a new war will outstrip, I’m guessing this was part of the 1930’s anti-war movement, which had both left-wing and right-wing currents; not sure which this Peaceways outfit might have belonged to.

    But the Pitney-Bowes and the Dacron/L’eggs ads are real enough, and appalling.

  2. Doug says:

    That “innocence is sexy” ad made my stomach flop over a bit. I guess that’s the same kind of mentality that convinces companies like Abercrombie it’s a good idea to sell G-strings to 10-year-olds.

  3. Bitter Scribe says:

    Ha! This reminds me of the old “No Comment” page in the back of Ms. magazine (Is it still there? I haven’t seen a copy in a long time.)

  4. Daisy says:

    I remember the ‘Love’s Baby Soft’ campaign very well; the perfume smelled like baby lotion. All the cosmetics had the same smell.

  5. House of Mayhem says:

    ‘Love’s Baby Soft’ reminds me of my first gf in hs. **sigh** I used to wear Jovan’s Musk for Men. Just a whiff of either of those scents takes me back to 1980.

    God, I’m old.

  6. louise says:

    Of course the Puma ad is fake; wouldn’t she be wearing killer stilettos instead? ;) ICK.

    Thanks, House of Mayhem- now all I can think of is the old “Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific” shampoo and commercials of the same era!

  7. brandann says:

    wow i think my favorite was the “doctors choose camels”. sadly when i was a kid my mom didn’t believe that second hand smoke was bad for you…and would blow it at me when i complained about sitting in the smoking section at a restaurant. blech…

    thank the twelve gods i live in a state that has banned that crap indoors…

  8. katherine says:

    [oh god I never posted a comment here before and my first version is all screwed up but I can’t erase it. sorry. let me retry.]

    Um, it’s hard to take someone seriously when they include something as obviously fake as the Soda Pop Board ad, which is clearly labeled with the parody website it’s from, The City Desk (a spoof of city newspapers, about a fictional city–I’d never heard of it until a friend put it on his blogroll and MySpace). (My first thought was, there’s no Hart Ave. in Chicago! Then I saw that there is, but there couldn’t be a 1515 W. Okay, you can tell I’m an insane nerd about stuff like that.) The Puma ad wasn’t exactly “old,” but creepy, but it wasn’t an “official” ad anyway, as noted above.

    However, the others are definitely weird and/or horrifying. And even worse than the new Maxim ad that keeps popping up in the middle of that page (which isn’t the blogger’s fault, of course, but I just felt like pointing it out).

  9. Kat says:

    Love’s Babysoft was the big rage when I was in elementary/middle school in the 70’s… I’m shocked now to see what the ad campaigns were all about.

  10. tps12 says:

    I think it’s awesome how the ads that were the topic of the post are interleaved with real-life web ads. When I viewed it, one of them was an image of a push-button with the text “Push the Fart Button (You Know You Want To).” I challenge anyone to find a vintage ad as bizarre.

  11. r@d@r says:

    hey! i feel brushed by fame! the “more doctors smoke camels” ad was featured prominently on my staff web site/”blog” at the teaching hospital i used to work at.

    the one with the apparent schoolgirl getting jizzed on? eccchh. almost hurled. why, why, why?

    people in the advertising world astonish me sometimes.

  12. Hector B. says:

    Looking at the Love’s Babysoft reminded me that of the Donovan song they used in their ads:

    Lord, kiss me once more
    Fill me with song
    Allah, kiss me once more
    That I may, that I may
    Wear my love like heaven (wear my love like)
    Wear my love like heaven (wear my love)

    Girls often want to act a lot older than they are, or at least they are into cosmetics at a young age — I remember when I saw my ten-year-old niece reading “Seventeen” magazine. Wasn’t Love marketed to the 10-11-12 year old set?

  13. W. Kiernan says:

    The guys who made Thorazine ads were really into eyeballs; perhaps they were influenced by that Bunuel movie. This one especially speaks to the phenothiazine prescribee in me.

  14. mustelid says:

    The Love’s Babysoft really squicks me out. Y’see, my parents considered it the only perfume appropriate for an eight year old. Obviously, they never saw that ad…damn, I feel dirty now.

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