The past contains many interesting things such as facts, historical events, discoveries and most of all: lessons. Whether it be questionable beliefs, socially destructive connotations or unhealthy practices, here are some questionable vintage ads we’re glad aren’t around anymore.
Sugar vs. Artificial Sweeteners
It is part of human nature to be curious. Today, many years after the invention of artificial sweeteners, many people are still very skeptical about them. Despite research proving time and time again that artificial sweeteners are not linked to several health concerns and provide an alternative to people with low sugar tolerance, many people still raise their eyebrows at artificial sweeteners. In the past, however, when artificial sweeteners were just starting out, many people are extremely apprehensive which led to advertisements like the one above.
This ad encourages parents to use a sugar-induced high to power their children’s day; forget the heart palpitations, forget the threat of obesity, cavities and even diabetes. What matters is that Jenny can keep cheerleading and bounce off of trampolines before crashing in bed at night.
It’s Delicious Not Deleecious
Sorry, I can’t promise this would be the last of those racist vintage ads. In the 1950s, cultural ignorance still stretched to many countries. Stereotypes mainly spread because of ads. No matter where you go, there will be one stereotypical image of a those who are Mexican, Puerto Rican, or South American. Those who design the art put on the cliched sombrero.
A perfect example of this malady is the ad for Merito Rum. They made a guy who wore a sombrero ride a donkey. Aside from the archetypal costume design, the ad showed how ignorant those who worked behind the scene were. Why would they write a quote like that? There’s nothing funny about it, just racist.
Women Can Open This Catsup Bottle
Strangely enough, even advertisements for aluminum bottle caps contain sexist material in it but were free to be published and displayed in public. It’s hard to see how something like this was considered a pleasant way to advertise aluminum bottle caps and we’re glad it’s not around anymore.
It’s kind of strange that more than 50 years ago people thought that women are weaker and are incapable of doing mundane tasks like opening bottles and that we need a strong man to...well...open a bottle, as most strong men do. While it’s true that we have trouble opening bottles every now and then, this isn’t only a problem that is exclusive to women. Sometimes it’s just that hard to twist that cap off! A Tutorial on How To Kick it with The Ladies
More Sexist Ads But This Time It’s Coffee!
Nothing beats the smell of coffee in the morning. The perfect breakfast for the working man: eggs, bacon, bread and a steaming hot cup of coffee with a hefty dash of good ol’ sexism. We already know that sexism was rampant in the earlier days and this is yet another good example.
This specific ad plays on the whole idea that a wife only belongs in the house and that her sole purpose is to serve her husband at home and make his life as pleasing and comfortable in whatever way she can. Today, more and more women are realizing that they can do so much more than stay at home and that their lives don’t have to end after getting hitched.
America Wants You! (To Eat More Rice)
Obesity has been a problem in the United States even in the 60s. American diet included potatoes that are high in carbohydrates, thus leading to gain weight that is hard to sweat off. The Rice Council of America published several advertisements to convince citizens to convert from potatoes to rice which is high in fiber and can help with weight problems. Now, this is a good cause; a healthier way of life is always something we should strive for whenever we can but there are certain...questions with how they deliver this message to the public.
Their way of doing so? Claim that there are no such things as fat Chinese people. It’s true that rice is a healthier side dish than potatoes but stereotyping a race and being culturally insensitive is definitely not the way to advertise your cause.
Unlucky Tiger Hair Wax
Whoever sees this ad can point out everything that’s wrong about it. To say the least, this hair wax ad is so creepy. What does a tiger have to do about hair wax? There seems to be a reverse role in this picture. The tiger is depicted as the hunter when it’s the other way around in reality. The poor animal is being portrayed as a beast when it fact, humans are the ones who invade their territories.
If you think that there could be nothing worse...you are very wrong. Mounting the busts of the women on a wall is such a psycho thing to do. The male gaze exudes the misogynist mentality of the creators of this ad. This ad displays pure absurdity that it even has the guts to say, “Which one do you want?” It’s as if women are not given the choice to say no. Sorry, the gals aren’t naturally going for any guy who uses Lucky Tiger. Not so lucky now.
The Airport is Hiring Women!
This seems like such a positive advertisement, providing work for women who are more career-oriented and wanted more to do than stay at home, opening opportunities and letting them explore new horizons (both figuratively and literally) but, don’t get your hopes up just yet.
Airlines are notorious for being extremely picky about the people they hire. There are certain standards that you must meet in order to get accepted. Training is provided upon getting hired but what you really need is a slim body and good looks. Women are only ever employed as hostesses and servers as these jobs were viewed as work fit for women, again putting women in the position of the servant. If you’re a married woman, you aren’t allowed to take the work as your place is at home to serve your husband and don’t even get me started on the pay!
Use Bleaching Cream for Whiter Skin!
Many things have changed since the time this ad was created. For example, this ad was meant to encourage people to bleach their skin to be fairer. In the past, fairer, lighter skin meant that you were more aesthetically pleasing and attractive. Today, however, many of us prefer darker, sun-tanned skin more than a pallid complexion.
This ad specifically was marketed towards African American and brown women so they could be able to bleach their skin and achieve the ideal beauty standard of their time. Although there are still people who are very gung-ho about having lighter skin, aren’t we glad this isn’t always the case today anymore? Today, it’s more about celebrating what you were born with!
Sex has always been a rather sensitive topic, even more so before than today.
The 60s was a more open era for sexuality but of course, not everyone can be a smooth loverboy. If you’re a man who has trouble getting women to notice you, then here’s a very handy book that guides you through the works and in no time you’ll be a combed and groomed casanova; making ladies fall for you left and right!
It comes in simple, easy to follow steps that anyone can follow! All you have to do is meet her, turn her on, bed her, satisfy her and keep her apparently! It also comes in a discreet package so you can rest assured that no one will find out about your dark secret.
The Best Pants to Win A Girl
Who knew that the secret to a long-lasting romance, to winning the heart of the woman you love and to keeping her in your life for the decades and decades to come lies interwoven in the threads of Acrilan and rayon pants from Broomsticks? This advertisement claims that all you need are a good pair of pants and you’re ready to step outside and win the girl of your dreams!
It’s really a work of wonder how some advertisers come up with thought processes such as this. It’s true that a good pair of pants can really go a long way but it’s gonna take more than Broomsticks slacks to keep her. If you wear them you just might be halfway there though, so don’t forget to wear a good pair of slacks when you go out! Who knows? You might just meet the girl of your dreams and wow her with your permanently pressed pants!
Sexist Cigar Advertisement
Before the turn of the century, sexism was even more rampant than it is today and it was socially acceptable to post insensitive and demeaning advertisements about anything that involved women and how they are somehow inferior to men. It can be seen in ads concerning laundry detergents, food helpers and many others. The worst part? Barely anyone said anything about it; not even women!
Today we’re more educated about the harmful social connotations of ads like this: A cigar is a cigar, one expensive stick of cancer-causing chemicals but let's forget about that, right? Women are obviously the bane of everyone’s existence. Then again, Kipling had been oppressed and demeaned by his own wife so perhaps that’s where his thought process stemmed from. Or perhaps it was his wife’s way of showing him he’s wrong.
Carsual’s Horoscope Pants
We’re not exactly sure what’s happening in this advertisement but we do know that it’s specifically made to sell these horrendous horoscope slacks. According to the ad, these are a pair of “action” pants. Whatever your agenda is, I’m sure it’ll be a lot more fun with a colorful pair of slacks!
The suggestive posing of the woman behind implies that these fancy slacks also serve as chick magnets. Seriously? What is it with advertisements for slacks and the absolute need to insinuate that these pants will get the ladies’ heads turning? Nonetheless, these screen printed cotton and polyester blend guarantees that these pair of pants are styled for action!
Need a great tan? Use Coppertone!
It’s dangerous when advertisements claim one thing as truth when it is actually misinformation. This advertisement for Coppertone is one of them. It claims that Coppertone’s sun tanning lotion will help you get a great, even tan, faster! Not only that, but it also claims that their special formula allows for a younger looking skin. This of course as we have found out is absolutely untrue!
Any form of tanning to your skin is caused by the damage of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It’s true that suntans can look good. However, the permanent damage to your skin cells is no laughing matter. Ask any dermatologist; too much exposure to UV rays causes wrinkles, spots that continue to get worse the older you get, not to mention the chance of getting skin cancer!
Sexy Datacomp Ad
The 60s was a revolutionary time, opening up more about sexuality, opening up more work for women and the like. However, it’s not a perfect time as ours is today. There are still a lot of blunders that we need to unlearn and relearn just as it was in the past.
This Datacomp advertisement sexualizes women in the form of sexy secretaries to entice businessmen to employ these office machines in their workplaces. Tanned legs, short dress, and a pretty face play the role in beckoning potential clients consisting mostly of male business owners. Sexy secretaries were all the rage in the 60s as shown in much of their media: books, televisions, commercials, and advertisements too.
Climbing sweaters that are not for women
Once again, a sexist ad but this time for climbing sweaters! This ad claims that women are only ever useful indoor. Of course, women are too soft and dainty to even try rock climbing. Only real men can do this activity and can only do it with fellow real men while their wives labored away at home, awaiting their return.
The ad even shows a woman dangling from the cliffside while her husband and his friend chatted merrily away without paying any attention to her. Of course, time and time again women have proven that this isn’t true. They are as capable and strong as men can be! Why one of the world’s best rock climbers is a woman named Ashima Shiraishi!
Another Racist StereotypeWith the thin mustache, the oversized sombrero and the way Frito Bandito pronounced kids as “keeds” all pointed to the fact that he was being portrayed Mexican. Once again, this advertisement profiles Mexicans as criminals or bandits. This, of course, is a harmful and offensive way to stereotype people south of the United States’ border.
Frito Bandito was the character promoting Frito-Lays. His character is used as the face of their line of products. Strangely enough, Frito Bandito seemingly wore some sort of military uniform implying that he is or works for the military. However, the stereotype it emphasizes still stands as racist and offensive.
Hair Care Product Attracts Mermaids
Strangely enough, this kind of advertisements still works with us today. It still is funny to see however that this has been the way products are advertised even years in the past. This specific ad was geared to advertise a hair-care product to men. The product is supposedly “water-activated” and will help get rid of dandruff, grease build-up and makes hair easy to groom and comb.
Funnily enough, none of these are in the advertisement and in its place is something unrelated to the product: a mermaid. Once again, women are placed in ads to attract the male gaze in the hopes of selling the product. But if we were to go with this advertisement, it appears that using this product and jumping in the water will cause you to summon at least one mermaid. So, to all the mermaid lovers out there: here’s your chance!
Hotpoint Washer and Dryer
Make a not-so-hot point Oh, thank goodness Jean’s husband was kind enough to buy her a washer and dryer. At least she can still keep his clothes clean and smelling good despite her pregnancy where she should really be resting and preparing for the coming baby. Forget rest, Jean, the time spent waiting for the washer and dryer to finish with the clothes is enough rest for you.
Look, we can see they’re trying here, implying that at least the husband was considerate enough to make the workload easier for Jean but let’s face the facts here: Jean is pregnant and should be resting. Her husband is a part of the household and should do his part in keeping it put together.
Women Will Make Everything Clean (Even in the Outer Space)
Well, who can’t resist all the possibilities that the outer space bears? Scientists and experts have worked their way to uncover the mysteries of space. There had been explorations to the moon and studies of exoplanets. It has always been a way of getting out of Earth and see what lies outside.
Lo and behold this Lestoil Cleaner ad saying women can join the line of men as astronauts and rocket scientists. Look closer and see what’s so wrong about it. They want to hire women to “make the Moon a cleaner place to live.” Then again, the sexist mentality surfaces! We’re by far living the 21st century with less of this. Enough of it already.
The Flintstones smoked cigarettes
Despite its heavy relation to lung cancer and other related diseases both to the smoker and the people around them, smoking used to be something everybody did in the past. It was simply the “cool” thing to do. Even in the Victorian era, there were even rooms reserved for smoking with the guests after a dinner party. It was done so heavily and so commonly that it was normal to kids.
Seeing Barney and Fred smoke cigarettes after a long day at work would probably a grounds for us today to have a show canceled for being a bad example especially if it was marketed for children like the Flintstones was but back then, nearly every adult smoked and seeing cartoon characters do the same was simply nothing to bat an eyelash about.
Bread is (Apparently) not for Everyone
It’s not so cool that bread is being labeled as exclusive only for those who made it or wherever its origin is. Bread will always get a place on the breakfast table. It can be coupled with basically anything. So, what’s the need of emphasizing that one doesn’t have to be something to get to love it? And oh, that costume design is so obvious just to suggest that the actor is a native American trying out a Jewish rye bread.
Not so fast there! The stereotype that this ad manifests is so racist. Science has something to say about it. Empirical studies that involve DNA and genetic testing shows that the origin of Native Americans can be traced back to the Lost Tribe of Israel. This ad is so phased out then. That’s a crazy twist in this Jewish rye bread ad.
Mr. Credit Card
It’s still unbelievable that in the 70s, misogyny came to penetrate even credit card ads. The ad above simply shows that a wife can’t get a hold of her husband’s credit card. They might be thinking that women would lavishly spend all the money that the husband worked hard for. Clearly, this ad doesn’t consider all the hard work the woman does at home: cleaning the house, attending to the children’s needs, doing a lot of chores, and the list just goes on.
Marine Midland thought of a sexist way to protect Mr. Husband’s funds from his own wife. Look at that actor’s covert smile. Sorry to the ad creators but you just depicted the woman’s face all wrong. She has got her own paying career to feed herself and the children. She actually doesn’t need access to Mr. Husband’s credit card. She has her own to foot the bills.
A Dose of Mellaril for Misogynists
Are you serious, Sandoz Pharmaceuticals? Why would you give housewives tranquilizer meds and claim that it can make them more productive at home? Know that women can do all the work without the help of your “mental health” drug. Mellaril are prescribed for patients with psychotic disorders. It can treat patients who experience delusions and hallucinations. Plus, women shouldn’t be portrayed as complacent wives who would do whatever they’re told. They are not crazy.
This drug ad shows oozing patriarchal misogyny and nobody can help but hate it. Their ad shows a hand reaching out to a housewife. They painted the woman’s face with sadness and resentment. It appears to be almost delusional. The ad creators certainly need to get a dose of their own medicine
“The Juice” for an Orange Juice Ad
OJ Simpson originally gained fame through his football career. He played as the running back for several football teams. He was even called up into different halls of fame. Later on, he decided to try out as a football broadcaster and an actor. Simpson appeared in “The Naked Gun” films. It was all glory days for OJ.
Of course, some companies would take advantage of OJ Simpson’s fame. One that took him as model was Tree Sweet that sells juice. Who wouldn’t find the pun witty in this ad? OJ is advertising for an OJ (yes, Orange Juice). However, OJ Simpson’s smile came to fade when he faced drastic events that change his career. His life dropped to zero when he was charged a suit and was arrested shortly after.
Color you Hair! (but not with PolyGlow)
Dyeing the hair is actually a fun pastime. Girls mainly do it to feel more beautiful for themselves. That needs more emphasis not to be misunderstood. Girls pretty up for themselves, not for others, especially not for men. Sometimes though, girls need to pick the best hair color brand to make the hair look softer and shinier.
PolyGlow claims to make a “beautiful change” for women’s hair. It has six shades that can make your hair more vibrant and look healthier. Wait, there’s something wrong about this. PolyGlow says that you should color your hair to catch the guys’ attention. That’s really a turn-off. Might as well find a better hair dye brand, choose one that’s not sexist.
Rest Assured Furniture’s Not-Quite-Assuring Ad
When you come home after a hard day’s work, you’ll surely jump straight to your living room couch (if not directly to your bed). The cushion makes you feel at home, really comfortable. The cover fabric feels so soft. The hand frames are not too high; they can be your pillow. You might even spend your good night sleep in it. Certainly beats a night in a suite, right?
So, in the 60s, advertisers played a different game when they sell their suites. Take for example this Rest Assure furniture ad. They are referring to the perfect curves of their new couch model. Do you see it? Obviously, they mean another thing with “curves.” Why else would they let a woman wear a sexy dress with a cocktail in hand? Rest Assured Furniture is definitely selling another thing aside from their couch and suite. One more thing, would you even buy that unattractive couch?
Rice Cereals Make You Feel Like So-Hi
For some of us, we prefer rice cereals over bread or potatoes for breakfast. Pour some milk and you’re good to go. A perfect breakfast makes the day seem alright. Do you recall cereals in the past had some freebies inside? You shake the box or hurriedly consume it to get your hands on that freebie.
In the 1960s, many companies use freebies to increase their sales profit. Aside from freebies, they also have characters that seem to have been their trademark. Post Cereal created a character named So-Hi. To this day, we still don’t know if it’s a marijuana reference or something. One thing’s for sure. They use Asian-stereotyped characters to depict rice. Really?
The Controversial Action Pants by Sansabelt
You’re seeing it right. Sansabelt has created pants with “patented action zone.” It’s puzzling why this bizarre ad wasn’t censored in the 60s. Perchance because of the strategic placement of the action zone marker? That marker didn’t really work because it draws so much attention to itself.
As for our main actors, they might be rethinking their life decisions after this ad was released. The dog certainly has nothing to do with it. It was just involved in this rather kooky scene. And the postscript right there! “Now with extra large snack sack.” Did you really have to blurt that out, Sansabelt?
More Scene-Stealer Jeans Ad
Some jeans company aren’t really contented with regular denim jeans. They alter the pants’ colors, prints, and cuts. Ripped jeans even became trending. There was this jeans company called HK Corporation who created a scene in the industry of jeans. They released what they called the SceneJeans.
The SceneJeans ad above overflows with a lot of adjectives. They sound so desperate just to sell those indescribable jeans. They use words like sexy, bold, brawny, saucy, and lusty. How can you even come to describe a fabric as lusty and saucy? Perhaps, the company was too excited to release the pants that they didn’t have the time to check the dictionary.
The Volkswagen Bandwagon
According to this Volkswagen ad, this new model is specifically created for wives. This VW is made of easy-to-replace parts and relatively cheaper than other models. Its fender is customized for women drivers. Now, should women who like driving thank VW for this personalization? No need to be thankful, girls. There are cooler cars than this.
This ad presumes that women are bad at driving because they hit anything that comes their way. Can you think of a more demeaning assumption than this? Women are statistically better drivers and navigators. In fact, men are more secured with higher insurance rates because it’s directly proportional to their accident rate. So, would you still fancy a Volkswagen?
Pontiac Likes Double Meanings
Sometimes, if not always, ads hide some double meanings behind the words they use. Some consumers, expose double meanings on social media and some fall for it. We leave the double meanings to the consumers. However, if the double meaning is meant to insult someone or sell sex, it should be put to trial.
Here’s a Pontiac ad set for trial. Sure, people in the 60s and 70s have become more liberated. They talked about sex more openly. However, this ad is heavily charged with sexual double meanings. It’s meant to say that this Pontiac has a bigger leg room in the back seat. Stating the obvious didn’t seem enough for the ad that time. They really had to enlarge the font size of that slogan that reads “Spread Your Legs!” Not to mention, those actors seem to ride on the sexual undercurrent of the ad.
Not Child-Friendly Sears
Thank goodness for clothing apparels that offer all sizes for children’s clothing. These are friendly companies that respect women of different sizes. Sears definitely is not of these companies. Even if your company sells clothes with all available sizes and flattering designs but you don’t treat your customers right, you’ll be out of the customers’ favorite list.
Sears called out a girl named Tracy Harper as chubby. Take a look at the photo above. You can tell that Sear used some hyperbole there. For the sake of selling the product, did Sear really need to fat shame Harper? Call it business but you’ve got to respect other people. Don’t let ads like this tarnish your self-esteem. You are beautiful, no matter what Sears says.
Suzy Can Be Anything
Reviewing history, women have come a long way in asserting their rights in the society. They have broken the shackles that bind them to societal expectations. There have been changes but some minds are still reserved about it. There are still traces of the patriarchal upbringing that the society has inculcated to many generations.
Sadly, even toys for kids have raised some standards in gender roles. Topper Toys designed the Suzy Homemaker set. The name of the toys itself already suggests its propaganda. The Suzy Homemaker includes a Super Grill, a High Speed Mixer, a Safety Oven, a Vanity, a Vacuum Cleaner, a Super Sweeper, a Washer-Dryer, an Iron and Ironing Board, and a Dishwasher Sink. Definitely old-fashioned! Society expects women to stay at home and do the chores; be a homemaker all their lives. Well, sorry Topper Toys, women can do a lot more than that.
Thermador’s Stacked Ad
Can somebody explain what’s going on in this ad? If it weren’t labelled as an oven ad, it could look like a movie poster. Yes, you read it right. This is supposedly an stacked oven ad. It’s strategically stacked for all its functions. This Thermador’s three-in-one oven is a Microwave Oven and a Hot Food Server, and is self-cleaning. This ad could have worked if they just stated that directly.
The actors stare at each other, each holding a drink in hand. What has that got to do with the oven?Will buying this stacked oven make the consumer feel as glamorous as the actors? Or will buying this oven make you drink? Or we can simply tell Thermador to stop using men and women alike to display some sexual innuendos in an oven ad. A simple oven ad.
Tipalet Plays with Double Meanings, Too
The sexual revolution that took place in the 1960s seemed to have really worked. People talk about sex and are no longer ashamed about it. It’s a good thing. It shows that the revolution reached a wide audience. A way to do so is using ads. Ads that time were pretty flooded with sexual double meanings.
This particular cigarette ad is a taste of the sexual revolution’s success. These Tipalet-brand cigarettes has distinct scents. It has the Cherry, Grapes, Burgundy, and Blueberry. Tipalet claims that their cigarettes are delicious in both taste and aroma. If someone chooses Tipalet, they are said to have done themselves a favor. To show this wildness and lusciousness, Tipalet hired actors, one to be the smoker and the other to take the secondhand smoke. The guy puffs in the girl’s face and she looks allured by the cigarette scent. Double meanings work well in ads.
Cigarettes for Women
Undeniably, women have come a long way. The changes in the societal views show progress and gas up feminist ad campaigns. Women can work outside the four corners of a house; they are no longer stereotyped as homemakers by default. They can work in factories and toil in the labor industry. It was just right that from 60s-70s, feminists ads were screened on television.
Let’s look no further from Virginia Slims. It was the first cigarette brand to market cigarettes for women. Their ad shows a complete contrast from sexist ads that came before it. Suddenly, when you look left, you see the lyrics of “I Want A Girl.” Virginia Slims can ditch that song and the viewers can get the feminist message that it tries to convey. The lines are dated. Women can smoke and are given the right to suffrage. Thanks, Virginia Slims! Just let go of the lyrics.
VW Automatic for Terrible Drivers a.k.a Women
We’ve had enough of Volkswagen’s insulting ads. They recklessly stress that women are terrible drivers all the time. In their defense, they can say that they only released the VW Mini Automatic which is easier to maneuver. Basically, women can easily drive the new VW model. The marketing team failed to give off that message. They used the wrong set of tropes.
So, there’s a woman behind the wheels. She looks so terrified, with her widely-opened eyes and pursed lips. The ad comes across with a different message. It shows that women are clearly bad drivers that they had to create a new model just for them. Statistically speaking, women are more careful on the road. Volkswagen can simply say that they’re releasing a new model with automatic transmission for everyone. Simple, isn’t it?
Weyenberg Can Stay Underfoot Not again.
Another incident of sexism is present in a Weyenberg shoe ad. It could have been an interesting product. Weyenberg made a massagic shoe that can aid relaxation and keep one’s feet happy. This shoe could have been a big hit in the industry because it can also improve blood circulation. Something big got in the way, it’s called sexism.
The Weyenberg massage shoe ad is out-right offensive and there’s no redeeming quality in sight. “Keep her where she belongs.” That’s a perfect sentence to dismiss Weyenberg from being revered. Women have been fighting their way to be recognized in the society. They have long debunked the idea that women should remain in the house. Weyenberg could have been more radical. Women will never be kept underfoot.
The White Horse Phenomenon
Rape jokes are still rampant everywhere in the world. Until today, victim blaming and misogyny hasn’t been completely eradicated. Despite many societal awakenings, those who have been engulfed in the patriarchal hegemony have a hard time getting off the track. What adds to the difficulty of changing the misogynist mentality is the production of ads that reinforce its standards.
Here’s one of those ads that do not go the extra mile to undermine the status quo. The White Horse Liquor ad suggests that if a guy in a bachelor’s pad bears of brings a White Horse in the room, he’s automatically a good guy. This is an entirely wrong idea to cultivate to its viewers. Women are still afraid to report rape incidents because of the stigma. Don’t trust anyone, even guys who bring White Horse to pads or pubs.
The Winnebago Track
The sixties entitled some people to a different kind of freedom. They can go anywhere they want; they can spend the night with friends or their lovers. Winnebago Industries hitched a ride on this freedom. They built houses on wheels. That way, anyone can go to the nearest mountain or beach without worrying about leaving something at home. Because with Winnebago Motorhome, home is instantly where the owner is.
Winnebago Chieftain II is the most expensive that time. It has a front lounge and a dressing room complete with shower, toilet, and tub. Needless to say, they spent big bucks for the upholstery. Behind all these fancy elements, Winnebago committed a faux pas. The sans serif text that demands attention: “Park her anywhere.” And who else could the object of that pronoun be? If Winnebago contends that “her” refers to the motorhome, the question is, why would they attribute the motorhome to a woman? Just asking...
Mom’s Got the Muscles, Too
Some ads actually changed their narratives when the times began to evolve. There may still have been discrimination against women, but it gradually lessened. Brillo might have also realized that it was time for a change. The Brillo soap pad ads depict a reversal of roles in the household. A man steps into the kitchen and cleans the pots and pans.
But if we try to put this ad under watch, there’s still an underlying motif of machismo. The Brillo soap pad is packed with “muscle.” It insinuates the idea that a man has the muscles to clean the whole kitchen. A woman will rely on his masculinity to get the work done. The strong, independent mommas beg to disagree. They’ve got everything, especially patience, when they enter the kitchen turf.
Cochon Prodigue Chronicles
When thin-sliced bacon is on the breakfast table, it really steals the spotlight. It goes well with any other food. We are all aware that bacon comes from pig—pork that has been cured or smoked. Either way, bacon tastes good. Will that perception change when you see a hog slicing itself into portions?
The Cochon Prodigue ad gives you that scene and it’s terrible. You will feel guilty about enjoying the piece of meat while a pig suffers from it. Also, this ad also gives off some “anti-meat” vibe. The text on top directly translates to “We eat with pleasure and without fatigue.” The passage below means “the good meat of the lavish pig.” That poses some kind of guilt-trip to anyone who eats pork. Does this ad raise some sort of anti-meat campaign?
Hair Dryer What sorcery is this? Can Panasonic give an explanation on how to use to Flip’N Style hair dryer even if you don’t have hair? Until now, we’re still contemplating if Panasonic is serious about this ad. “Even if you can’t use it, it’s fun to have.” They’re basically telling people to buy something they can’t actually use. They have brought their gizmo way out of the line. The hair dryer has become a disguise for their agenda.
This hair dryer ad comes off as an insult to those who have suffered severe hair loss or those who have undergone chemotherapy. Panasonic has to select their words more wisely on this and to be more sensitive. We can’t discredit the fact that maybe they thought of something that can be used by everyone. But they can hire another model. They could have avoided the issue of making fun of women who have lost their hair.
Pal Many of our friends take good care of their health through a healthy diet. Sometimes, temptations come in the form of savory food with high calorie and fat content. Also, when you go to fast food chains, you’ll be offered the Supersize of everything. What else does that mean? A cheat day, of course.
There’s this ad decades ago that shares a shortcut to achieve your diet goals. It sounds chancy but just spare a moment at least. Apparently, sugar, one of your diet archenemies, can actually help you lose weight. This ad claims that if you eat something with sugar before your mealtime, you’ll lose your appetite. That means, your calorie intake would abate a little. Treat sugar as your diet accomplice. Your relationship will definitely grow sweeter.
Jade East Combo
Just another day, another racist and sexist ad appears. Meet the Jade East After Shave ad. The marketing team intently hired an Asian model to personify the product name. The product name of this aftershave also goes back to Asian references. Jade minerals are mostly identified by its color which is green. It is prominent in Asian art, thus highly-valued and precious. Juxtaposing Jade with East intensifies the imminent racism in this ad.
There’s more. Jade East After Shave has something else to offer. Its slogan states “If she doesn’t give it to you, get it yourself.” That’s loaded with a whole lot of sexual undertone and misogyny. This ad scores on both racism and sexism. Only Jade East After Shave can pull off this combo in an ad.
Women Can Cook Without Kenwood
Many people are inclined to watching and reading ads. They play a big role in educating the viewers and consumers. If an ad is sexist, the consumer’s ideals might be in trouble. The idea that women’s only place to be is at home has long been demystified. Women were not born and raised to serve their husbands. They have their own lives to live and own dreams to fulfill.
And then, Kenwood Chef comes into the scene. This product has been specially made for wives. “I’m giving my wife a Kenwood Chef,” the slogan reads. Kenwood thinks that women become wives to cook for their husbands all their lives. And it’s just so wrong.
Before we get into the product in this ad, let’s take a detour to the merit of cocaine in the 1880s. Cocaine was actually an additive to alcoholic beverages in the mid-19th century. Coca wine was the most popular one during that time. You might have the idea cross your mind now. Coca wine has become the soda we all enjoy these days, Coca-Cola.
1880s was a year full of discoveries. Doctors found out that cocaine can serve a purpose in the medical field. The common cause of kids crying for help is toothache, then and now. Toothache is too powerful a feeling that it can make you cry and sick all of a sudden. If it were in the 1880s, we can immediately ask for Cocaine toothache drops and instantly chase the misery away.
Warner’s is Not in Good Shape
Ads are one of the reasons why many women suffer from low self-esteem. They impose beauty standards and want to correct one’s body with their products. No example is better than the Warner’s Girdle and Bra ad. They used the image of a pear to declare that this kind of body shape can’t be called as a shape of a girl. Shame to Warner’s for body-shaming women with pear-shaped bodies.
Warner’s solutions to their invented problem are a concentration girdle and a fibber bra. Their products bring back women to the time when they had to wear tight corsets to conform to society’s standards. Warner’s seems to be not over that time yet. To all women out there, “you do you, Warner’s shouldn’t care.”
So, there’s this vintage vitamin ad that claims that their vitamins can give more energy to a wife. It says that it can transform a wife into a cleaning machine. She can cook, clean, do all other chores, and take good care of the children. Amazing, isn’t it? Whoever thought of this marketing idea should be the one taking a dose of vitamins that can awaken the senses.
This old-fashioned idea has been outmaneuvered. Companies can manufacture vitamins such as this to advocate for a healthier body and mind. This ad got it wrong on making it for women to make them become machines for their husbands. Not just that, this vitamin ad also claims that it can make the wife look more blooming. It can make the husband love the wife more. So wrong on so many levels.
Never Legal to Kill Anyone
There came a time when TV series and movies were proliferated with boss-secretary love affair plots. They usually characterize women characters with cleavage-showing costumes and red lipstick. Pretty seductress, they say. The married man then shows his affection. Stories usually go this way. They end up criticizing women for alluring married guys. This kind of movies reiterate the blind reverence of people to machismo.
To make it worse, a postage maker ad questions if it’s always illegal to kill a woman. Anyone would say, “What kind of stupid question is that?” Because it really is stupid. Just FYI, it’s always illegal to kill anyone. Regardless of age, gender, and race, everyone has got the right to live. Why meddle on that?
Love’s Baby Soft Sexy
Twist Love’s Baby Soft Women Fragrances was like the fragrance of the youth during the time. It comes in body mist, foaming bath, body powder, and body lotion. Its clean and fresh scent is definitely irresistible. Fans of this product actually dream of wearing it again. A spray on the wrists and behind the ears lasts until the day’s over.
The product is also pretty well-known because of its rounded pinks bottles with a white cap. The innocent baby smell lingers at first and then eventually leaves sexy notes of jasmine and floral scents. A sexy innocence? Maybe that’s what Love’s Baby Soft really wants to leave as an impression. We can see that the ad above shows a chaste girl wearing a dress that slightly shows the skin and definitely has a sexy touch. And of course, we shouldn’t laugh off their slogan. “Because innocence is sexier than you think.” Love’s Baby Soft is not as innocent as we think.
Something Worse than the Action Pants
We thought that the Action Pants ad can’t be paralleled by another ad. This Saga joystick ad steals the scene and asks for all the attention in the world. When you see it, you can’t help but “Oh my God!” It’s so real that we still have a copy of it today. What’s so difficult about advertising a joystick that Saga’s marketing team had to resort to a sexually-charged ad?
The hand that appears on the ad is clearly doing something else. This ad can definitely not disguise their sexual content. Don’t forget the slogan. “The more you play with it, the harder it gets.” That’s clearly something else more than an input device for a game. Of course, they had to use words and phrases such as “writhing,” “pulling and squeezing your knob,” and “shooting all over the place” (to name a few). This ad is burgeoned with sexual innuendos.
Lysol Expanding their Horizons, But Fails
Lysol has been in the market for decades because of its disinfectant spray products. They have kept many homes clean and safe. We never came to think that Lysol can actually be used as a feminine hygiene product. Guess what? John divorced Mary because she wasn’t able to maintain her “personal cleanliness.”
This ad plays on a woman’s life. It shows that women have a long list of duties the whole day, which is true. The other side of their lives, this ad says, is sad. They usually don’t have time to take care of themselves, which is also true. This ad chooses to fool around by creating a misogynistic story and dictate women about personal hygiene. They claim that its scent can make the husband stay in love with his wife. If a woman doesn’t use Lysol, the man will leave her. There’s a reason why this product didn’t last long in the market: this ad. One last thing, it doesn’t sound practically safe to use.
Santa Uses Microshe Boot Polish, Attracts Women
Apparently, even shoe shine products thought of the need of employing women to their ads. They didn’t want to emphasize the shiny and polished shoes. They chose to highlight the effect it has to capture women’s heart. Talk about far-out ads? Griffin Microsheen Stain Boot Polish gets you!
The ad above makes it known to the world that the product doesn’t only make shoes shine. It can also make a woman’s heart skip a beat. They were able to emphasize that by letting a woman wear a sheer nightgown and kneel while staring at Santa’s shiny boots. The costume intends to show the woman’s curve and it’s too disconnected from the product they’re advertising. It’s not so difficult to shine a shoe and use it as the sole subject of the ad.
No, You Can Trade Kellog’s for Anything
We have old Uncle on the screen again. The world of advertising doesn’t just feed on machismo. They can’t get enough of discriminating people. They even make it so obvious. Kellog’s introduced their new Corn Flakes by hiring the same actor from the Jewish rye bread ad. They seemed to have had a hard time finding the right wardrobe for him. They decided to use the ones he wore in another ad.
Clearly, Kellog’s want the actor to appear like a Native American. Let’s take a short history class review. In 1920s, Native Americans were granted full citizenship. However, discrimination was still present at the time, especially in the world of advertising. Most of those ads end up being presumptuous and insulting.
What’s A Guy Got to Do With J&B Whiskey?
They say that a man has got a good taste if he’s got the eye for good whiskey. It shows sophistication and style. It’s also generally known that those who have the money enjoy this luxury. Some people tend to generalize that women admire guys who have the affluence that brings them to this kind of hobby. Before long, the term “sugar daddy” came to life and to square the term, also came “gold diggers.”
J&B Rare Scotch Whiskey released an ad stating that you don’t need to know a man further if he just ordered the said drink. Quite bold of them to claim. Their ad says that a woman will be enamoured to a man who orders their drink. The guy will be a potential sugar-daddy. The woman is then generalized as a gold-digger. Some hasty generalization in a whiskey ad.
The Van Heusen Drift
Despite mobilizations in the 60s, some product ads remained offensive and culturally insensitive. Companies still go to marketing agencies that do not honor cultural and historical accuracy. One of the companies that went on perpetuating the white-superiority standards was Van Heusen. They didn’t even bother to be culturally sensitive in one of their shirt ads.
“4 out of 5 men want Oxfords... in these new Van Heusen styles.” This seemingly ordinary statistics ad scheme would just pass by our thoughts not until we find out who has been averted. The photo indicates that successful and “civilized” men wear business suits like Van Heusen’s shirts. They treated the “native” American as an “other.” They accessorized him with a bone and a nose ring. Van Heusen wanted an easier way of endorsing their product and that is through white supremacy. Another hasty generalization, this time, in a shirt ad.
Want Some Skinless Wieners?
We have to admit, a smirk appears when we see this ad. We can’t help but read more than what’s on the screen. Regular hot dogs should be peeled off its plastic. It’s not practical in helping the environment and might affect the consumer’s health in the long run. An infamous company thought of a different kind of wieners.
Introducing Skinless Wieners! They’re actually cheaper and easier to cook. You no longer need to take time in peeling off the plastic. You can fry it right away. The company also claims that it retains the real taste of a hotdog; it’s more savory and and juicy. If skinless wieners is not your cup of tea, you can stay with the wrapped hot dogs.
Why Don’t You Clean Your Own Spark Plug?
The Saturday Evening Post seems to be undeveloped because it’s already the 1940s but they still poke fun at people of color. The Indiana-based paper has been around since 1821 but they haven’t seem to progress as an institution. They made out a spark plug advertisement through highlighting the supremacy of an animal over a person of color.
In plain sight, this ad shows a man of color cleaning some shoes. A white horse suddenly appears and tells the man to clean the spark plugs as well. What does this indicate? Clearly, this ad suggests that a white horse is superior than a person of color. It horses around the dichotomy that has been demolished ever since. We’ve had enough of this racist and false portrayal ads.
Beer Solves It All
We’ve been talking about women as homemaker ever since. The marketing teams during the time can’t think of any other way to advertise their products than to treat women as inferior. The 1950s was the pinnacle of sexist ads. The man should be the one who finds solutions to everything, the provider, and the disciplinarian. The woman is left in the house to cook. That’s what they always say, women should know how to cook.
In this Schlitz beer ad, they came up with a solution. The woman burns whatever she cooks and cries because she can’t serve for her husband. She is portrayed as a fragile homemaker who bursts into tears because she can’t play her role well. The man, being a problem-solver, says that she doesn’t need to worry because they have beer. A woman can’t burn beer, they say. The thing is, we’ve long been over this kind of dynamics. Anyone can have beer anytime, anywhere. Whether you can cook or not, you can have beer.
Stokely’s Van Camp’s Pork and Beans and Face
Aside from running to marketing agencies, companies can also hire artists to illustrate ads for them. Stokely’s chose the latter. They hired an artist to create an ad for their Van Camp’s Pork and Beans. Nothing is sexist or racist in the ad. Some consumers just had a thing with the boy’s face.
Maybe it’s a way of saying that if you don’t try Van Camp’s Pork and Beans, you’re going to regret it. Maybe the product is so good that the artist has to show it this way. Imagine walking along the food aisle at the nearest grocery store, you might be startled. You would instantly recognize the face of Van Camp’s ad. Don’t get worked up, it’s just pork and beans.
Van Heusen Did it Again
Van Heusen seems to be not contented with their racist shirt ads. They didn’t disappoint because in the 1950s, they released another questionable ad. That time, another sexist ad. First of all, we all enjoy breakfast in bed. When we were kids, our parents would bring our meals in bed. They would give us the perfect breakfast coupled with a refreshing orange juice.
This particular ad just went too far. The man wears a Van Heusen tie and feels so entitled to be served with a breakfast in bed. Her wife is on her knees, serving her husband who feels like “it’s a man’s world.” This ad sends all the shivers to anyone who sees it. Strike two for Van Heusen.
You Can Cook! Pyrex or not...
Here we go again with oozing masculinity in one ad. They keep on saying that a woman has to learn how to cook before she becomes a wife. And then we wonder, can’t men cook for themselves? If they are always worshipped like gods, don’t they have what it takes to cook a single meal?
Pyrex even added to this frolic. They say that wives should use their wares to cook well for their husbands. Well, Pyrex or not, anyone can still come up with a decent dish. This ad simply illustrates the confined life of a woman when she gets married to a misogynist. Women can get out of the box, just like what the photo shows, and take the career path of their choice. Pyrex or not, women can find their way to a success.
Tetley’s Specially Bitter Tea
Is advertising so difficult during the 19th century? Ads present the product and then comment on racism, sexism, and child abuse on the side. We thought that was the age of creativity. Where has that gone to? During the 19th century, there weren’t any laws to protect children from any kinds of abuse. They were forcibly brought to work and physically abused.
Tetley’s Tea thought of a way to put a flavor of sweetness in this bitter fate. They sold tea with lumps of sugar to take the edge off the bitterness. And oh, “like good children never beaten”? What could that mean? A lot of kids are being abused everyday and some people shrug the fact off and have their Tetley’s cup of tea.
Morphine Shots for Children Teething
When a child starts teething, that means a terrible day for everyone at home, especially for moms. Kids teething are usually irritable and can’t easily sleep at night. Mothers also have a hard time sleeping because her kids will cry all night. What can a Mom do during this period? In the 1860, Mrs. Winslow came up with a soothing syrup for children teething.
When kids try out the soothing syrup, they would instantly stop crying and feel high. That high is driven by the morphine and alcohol. Yes, you read it right. Drops of morphine will ease the pain but can eventually lead to something more painful than teething. In 1906, the US Pure Food and Drug Act forced companies to state the ingredients of every drug they market. The soothing syrup was banned but was still sold in some areas. Everyone loves a good night sleep but not with Mrs. Winslows.
Pears’ Soap Delivery Service
What’s your ideal soap brand? Probably anything that feels good on the skin and smells nice, right? For Pears’ Soap, it’s different. They believe that their soap should brighten all the dark corners of the world. So in 1899, they released an ad that shows soap delivery to third-world countries. Apparently, their vision was to instill virtues of cleanliness to people of color and third-world countries.
They might have thought highly of themselves. They even depicted a person of color extending his gratitude to whoever brought the Pears’ soap to their place. For Pears’ soap, they need to combat “uncleanliness” in the dark corners of the world. That said, dark corners are everywhere on Earth, including Pears’ soap country of origin.
The Iver Johnson Irony
Guns shoot and kill. Therefore, they should be in the hands of an adult or someone who knows how to carefully handle it. Iver Johnson’s Arms and Cycle Works believes otherwise. They assert that their guns are absolutely safe that even kids can get hold of them.
Iver Johnson’s even printed that “Papa says it won’t hurt us” text on the kid’s dress in the ad. Their ad, for all that, is actually misleading. First, they say that it’s absolutely safe because their guns don’t misfire when dropped. Then, they say that “they shoot straight and kill.” Whatever this ad really means, guns are still dangerous. Iver Johnson’s or not.
Wheaties during War
Touring around this vintage ads path also calls for a short history review. Let’s go back to World War II. Racism was seriously a thing among white men. They joke a lot about Asians, people of color, and third-world countries. Of course, we’ve got evidences to prove that claim.
This group of white soldiers are walking through a forest and they suddenly see a box of Wheaties. You all know the breakfast of champions. Wheaties is popularly known because of its package because they feature famous athletes. Let’s go back to the ad. So, one of the soldiers says that the box of Wheaties is a trap because it’s definitely hard to resist. Well, they consider themselves champions. That’s for one of the undercurrents in this ad. Another thing here is the resolute propaganda of war being aimed toward children. That time, Wheaties aimed to focus their marketing strategy toward children as their primary customers. Parallelisms in life…
NO 7-Up Near the Baby
Milk is for babies. That’s a universal fact. Babies, as little as they are, should be nourished with healthy food. Parents tend to be very picky when it comes to securing their baby’s health. They keep their eye on whatever the baby consumes 24/7. What about 7-Up? Will you let a baby have some?
7-Up released an ad in 1955 showing a baby enjoying a bottle of 7-Up. The photo is undeniably bothering. When a mom sees her baby holding a bottle of 7-Up, she’ll instantly take it away from the baby. According to 7-Up, their soda is actually better that other soft drinks. They even recommended putting a few drops in a bottle of milk. Fortunately, it was later known that 7-Up is equal to 10 spoonfuls of sugar and contains caffeine. Lastly, it can drain calcium from your baby’s bones. After you see this, you might never want to see 7-Up again, especially near your baby.
The Decline of Smoking
Smoking a cigarette is a social norm. It can relieve stress for others and keep a social circle. Some have become dependent to it that people saw it as a normal thing. Smoking was talked about openly, even in TV. Popular women in 50s Hollywood even puffed cigarettes on cam. Just take a look at that Zippo Slim-Lighter ad. Looks like a mom and a daughter lighting cigarettes. It was only when medicine got in the way that smoking become a fuss.
US Surgeon General Luther Terry said that smoking can cause lung cancer. Everyone became leery of their habits and eventually came to quit smoking. For those who were still at it, cigarette ads and lighter ads kept company. Even when smokers declined in number, there are still those who find relief in smoking.
We have also come to the point where some companies created not only bad ads but also terrible products. Who could have been the pioneer of this ultramodern product. Here’s the thing, a girl will mold her lips in “passionately eternal bronze” and give it to the man of her life. He deserves to get a copy of your lips to keep it forever. That’s just insane, right?
Who would be willing to join this crazy bandwagon in the first place? Well, would you still have a go for it when you find out how much it will cost you? Uhmm, no. You’ll ignore this ad sooner or later. That figurine will ask you to take more than a hundred dollars from your card. I say, leave it.
The Legend of Ms. Borden’s FatOff Obesity Cream
Sadly, fat-shaming has been around for a very long time now. There’s still a surge of dietary supplements and weight-loss drugs in the market. Have you heard of an obesity cream? They say that it really does magic because you don’t need to take a diet or exercise. Rub it on the fatty areas and you’re good. I sound like a total sales agent. Everything that can convince you to use it for weight loss is in the market.
Ms. Borden already thought of it in 1909. She brought the FatOff Obesity Cream into being. The product promises no diet and no exercise needed to lose weight. This scam worked during that time. Being thin and having an almost-sickly look was the trend that time. Because of discrimination, some girls and guys used Ms. Borden’s Obesity Cream. Later on, they were busted. The cream didn’t take effect at all because it was nothing more than soap shavings and water. Name a more iconic scam…
Atari gets Stevie Wonder to Advertise their Console
Stevie Wonder is one of the biggest names in the music industry. Despite his blindness, he was a fantastic singer, songwriter, producer, musician, and a multi-instrumentalist. As one of the most critically and commercially successful musicians, there is no doubt that Stevie was a prodigy.
Atari, a gaming console marketed for children and teenagers alike had once ridden the coattails of Stevie’s fame, making him the face of this advertisement that is quite concerning as it banks on Stevie’s disability. As with most things, this was likely discussed before it was published and Stevie had agreed to the terms. Still, Stevie is truly amazing for being able to make light of his disability.