To measure whether society and humankind are progressing, you can compare the standards that were acceptable in the past with the expectations of today. This is why many outdated ads are no longer considered appropriate, as they usually contain sexist ideas that would be seen as unacceptable in the current climate.
1) Charles Antell Formula 9 and Shampoo
This advertisement is incredibly shocking with no good justification. It depicts a woman with a gun pointed at her head and a rope tied around her throat, and her other hand is holding a bottle of poison. Why? Because she says that if her hair looks bad one more time, she’ll end her life. It is a wrong use of suicide to try and promote a product.
2) Van Heusen “Man’s World”
Van Heusen has recently released another commercial that is causing an uproar. The commercial features a woman who is down on her knees delivering breakfast to her husband, who is lying down and seemingly relishing in her actions. Although it is unclear what the advertisement is trying to market, it appears to be insinuating that women are subordinate.
3) 7-up – 1950S
It is inconceivable that a promotion like this would be broadcasted in current times. This commercial for 7-Up shows an infant consuming carbonated drink, which is not only highly detrimental to their health but might result in stomach problems in later life. It is astonishing to realize that soda manufacturers used to aim their products at youngsters!
4) Larsen Company – 1949
There is nothing wrong from a cultural standpoint, but it is rather unappealing. Who would want to purchase a can of five different vegetables?! It is hard to believe anyone would have bought this product, and it would not be successful in the present market.
5) Camel – 1940S
It is unfathomable that a tobacco corporation had a doctor promote their cigarettes. Recently, Camel ran a commercial saying that medical professionals smoke their cigarettes more than any other type. Such a promotion wouldn’t be permissible in current times and most physicians don’t recommend smoking.
6) Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic
Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic was a medicinal remedy for fever that contained quinine syrup and so had a particular taste that was not appreciated by some people. The promotion for the tonic was out of the ordinary, featuring the head of a kid superimposed on the frame of a pig. It is unclear why this image was used in order to boost the sales of the tonic.
7) General Electric – 1980S
It is common for people to hit the snooze button on their alarms, yet advertising campaigns do not usually focus on this feature. But when General Electric brought out the new alarm clock, it was a game changer. Who would’ve thought it would become so popular?!
8) Panasonic Flip N’ Style Hair Dryer
This advertisement is totally nonsensical. What was the thought process behind having a bald woman to advertise a hairdryer? It’s a terrible choice for marketing, so why not show the final outcome of using the item?
9) Sears – 1910S
It’s astonishing that Sears used to market and sell houses, and it’s equally strange to think that one could purchase a twelve-bedroom house for just $6,000! Even though the lifestyle was simpler and wages were lower at the time, it’s still a remarkable concept that few people can even imagine nowadays.
10) Nichols Industries Inc – 1950S
In this day and age, with the abundance of reports of children using firearms to hurt others, it is unfeasible to manufacture a toy gun that feels genuine. Nonetheless, in the fifties, this enterprise developed a gun toy that had a genuine look and sound, despite the fact that gun violence was not as prevalent during that time.
11) Martini & Rossi – 1960S
It is uncertain what message this advertisement is attempting to convey. The company seems to be comparing the woman in the confinement to their products. It is conceivable that a man may have locked her in the cell after providing her with alcohol? Either way, this commercial is not a good representation!
12) Plymouth – 1940S
A major difference between how promotional campaigns were conducted in the past and now is the sheer volume of text present in each one. In the modern world, who has the time to go through all that information while they are rapidly browsing through a paper or periodical? It is absolutely incredible!
13) Chase & Sanborn Coffee
Chase & Sanborn Coffee appears to not have considered the implications of their ad, which suggests physical abuse of women. It is extremely disconcerting that they would consider it acceptable to portray a man punishing his spouse by spanking her for failing to make sure the coffee was still good.
14) Schlitz Beer – 1960S
This advertisement for Schlitz Beer is aimed at informing people that it wasn’t always the case that pull tabs were the go-to option for opening a beverage. Can you imagine the need for a can-opener to crack open a cold beer? Thankfully, businesses have come up with convenient and innovative solutions!
15) Toothache Drops – 1885
Many people don’t know that cocaine was acceptable in 1885 and was even promoted! These toothache drops contained the drug, and anyone could buy them from their neighbourhood pharmacy. Kids were even included in the commercial!
16) 7-up – 1960S
It is remarkable that firms can make strong claims like the one seen in this soda advertisement. It claims that consuming 7-Up will give you an energy rush that enhances your skills in sports such as ping-pong and bowling in two to six minutes. The puzzle occurs when looking at the model featured in the ad.
17) Philip Morris Born Gentle
This advertisement was highly disturbing as it used babies to promote a completely inappropriate product. Why would someone think it was okay to sell cigarettes while depicting a mother hugging her newly born?
18) Leggs – 1970S
Numerous commercials are prejudiced against women, and this particular one takes it to a new height by implying that men are superior and should control women as a result of their attire. It is shocking that such a promotion was transmitted, but fortunately, something like this would not be permitted nowadays.
19) Honda – 1970S
It is astounding that this advertisement was approved and created. What is the meaning that Honda is trying to convey when they declare that the car is specifically for women? We don’t know, however it becomes even more offensive when they suggest that women don’t understand them. In a nutshell, it is simply predicated on gender and it was extremely rude.
20) Airflow Company – 1980S
Even though it was the 1980s, the usage of sexual charm in promotional activities was still common. Though the spectators may find it entertaining, it does not help to emphasize the computer components. If the staff were to dress in a similar way, the air conditioning would be shut down due to the uncomfortable environment. Therefore, it is an awkward situation!
21) Soda Pop Board of America
It is astonishing to think that the Soda Pop Board of America was once an actual entity. It is even more shocking that they were recommending that parents should serve cola to their children. This idea would be totally rejected today since children have no need to consume any kind of soda.
22) Tipalet – 1960S
This commercial suggests that smoking can help to keep a woman’s attention. This reflects an outdated way of thinking that is sexist, as well as promoting an activity that is damaging to one’s wellbeing. It is inconceivable for this advertisement to be broadcast in present times.
23) Sears Pikes Peak Hill – 1960S
The ad for the Sears Pike Peak Hill Climb toy comes with visuals that give off a pleasant, cozy vibe. It is clear that the children and their relatives are delighted, and the toy itself looks outstanding.
24) Colt Christmas Gift Ad
This ad is not inaccurate, but it expresses the changing nature of American culture. Given the high frequency of mass shootings in recent times, it is highly improbable that any firearm producer would suggest that their goods make a suitable Christmas present for oneself.
25) Kohler Bathroom Fixtures – 1960S
The decor of this bathroom has a very 1960s vibe, which is suitable since the commercial is from that time period. It is entertaining to contemplate a company pushing appliances in an avocado shade. Hopefully those sinks and tubs won’t resurface again!
26) Mattel M-16 Marauder
It is remarkable to observe this advertisement from the company that we link to the Barbie dolls. However, the firm decided to try to attract young boys with the toy M-16 Marauder rifle. Due to the present mass shooting crisis in the United States, this commercial would be inappropriate in our current climate.
27) Diamond Dyes
It is obvious that Diamond Dyes put in a lot of effort with this ad; however, it is quite unnerving for a normal advertisement for dye products. This ad would be more appropriate for a horror film rather than for dying products.
28) Hamlin’s Wizard Oil
In recent times, there has been a resurgence of false claims about essential oils being used as a substitute for accepted medications, which is not a new concept. A good illustration of this is the commercial for Hamlin’s Wizard Oil that asserted it could heal ailments such as rheumatism. Without a doubt, this Wizard Oil had no medicinal properties other than increasing the profit of the business selling it.
29) Love Cosmetics
The Balenciaga advertisement blunder demonstrated that people are not tolerant of young people being featured in provocative ads, regardless of how mild it is. In this particular case, Love Cosmetics’ advertisement was anything but benign, with the caption “innocence is more attractive than you suppose,” which would unquestionably cause a massive uproar if it were to come out today.
30) Marilyn Monroe Firework Safety – 1950S
The rationale behind the use of a suggestive picture of Marilyn Monroe in a swimsuit to promote safety on the 4th of July remains unclear. However, it appears to have been effective in capturing people’s attention, so it must have fulfilled its intended purpose.
31) Best Buy – 1999
It’s nearly inconceivable to not remember the extraordinary circumstances that took place when the year 1999 was ending. Everyone was distressed that computers wouldn’t work correctly because of the Y2K issue. This vintage advert reminds us of the fear that people experienced while they were trying to commemorate the beginning of the new millennium.
32) Tart-Chestnut Co – 1930S
Initially, the named used for the Tart-Chestnut item was not thought to be in poor taste. This case provides a good example of how the meanings of words can change with the passage of time. At one time, the chip company was informally called “Big Tits,” though this is no longer the case.
33) Columbia Records – 1970S
It is amazing that an individual could purchase 13 cassettes or albums for only one dollar. These items were available at a reduced price to members of the club, and those which were sold separately would be much more expensive. How times have evolved!
34) Fairy Soap
In today’s era, a commercial like this would never be accepted, and it was wrong to be broadcasted in the past. The white child is asking the Black child, “Why doesn’t your mother use Fairy soap on you?” which implies that the child’s skin tone is something that needs to be “improved”. This is completely abhorrent.
35) Gillette Safety Razor
This choice is really peculiar: using a baby in an advertisement to promote a razor. Could it be that they hoped to demonstrate that their “safety razor” is so gentle that it can be used on a baby? It’s really odd, and we don’t think this would be accepted in the present day.
36) Keep Her Where She Belongs
This advertisement was a total failure for a few reasons. Firstly, it was hard to understand what item it was pushing (was it a shoe?) and which corporation it was promoting. On top of that, it suggested that a woman ought to be kept down to the ground by a shoe, which is extremely inappropriate.
37) Schlitz Beer – 1950S
In this advertisement for Schlitz Beer, a wife is upset after botching her dinner. Her husband behaves arrogantly and “guarantees” her that it’s okay since she did not ruin the beer. How rude of him to say something like that!
38) Texaco – 1943
Texaco offered a vision of a world where kids would not be aware of Adolf Hitler, since he would no longer have an influence on their everyday life. At the time, he was committing massacres of many people. This was an indication of solidarity and optimism for what was to come!
39) Hoover Vacuum Cleaner
This ad from Hoover has a disheartening idea, proposing that a housewife would be “enchanted” with a vacuum cleaner rather than something that would bring her joy. Instead of getting her a product that would give her satisfaction, why not buy her a device for tidying up the home?
40) Marlboro Baby
Apart from Philip Morris, the Marlboro Man was also widely advertised. However, there was another advert for Marlboro cigarettes which showed a young child asking his mother to smoke a Marlboro to de-stress and not be angry with him. It is clear that this was an unsuitable suggestion to be put forth.
41) Radio Shack – 1970S
Previously, Radio Shack was the ideal store to purchase the most advanced technology items. However, the appearance of Best Buy and other large corporations caused them to go into bankruptcy several times before eventually closing down.
42) Kellogg’s – 1930S
During the 1930s, Kellogg’s – a famous cereal manufacturer – started to sell vitamins. To encourage people to buy them, they promised that husbands would have more vibrant and appealing wives if they took the vitamins. Fortunately, such marketing is no longer used!
43) Budweiser – 1950S
The Budweiser commercial is really absorbing. It emphasizes the established idea that wives were never included in a poker game that men would play with their friends. Regardless of this, the ladies had to provide the snacks and beer. The ad also hints that it was thanks to the ladies that there was something to munch on, as they had a dependable knack for remembering.
44) Western Electric – 1950S
It is intriguing to watch the sort of telephone Western Electric anticipated for the future. Their forecasts were not too far wrong, yet the business was not able to foresee the presentation of cordless phones in the same time period. Is the person who made the promotion still alive today? How would they respond to the current smartphones?!
45) Sony – 1960S
These days, folks are preoccupied with their handheld technology, but in the past they had to lug around a lot of gear to capture footage. The man in the image appears to be videotaping a bird’s nest, which seems a bit odd considering that he is in the tree. Who knows what else he got on camera!
46) McDonald’s – 1970S
During the 1970s, McDonald’s was probably trying to be inclusive towards African Americans. However, an advertisement like that would not be tolerated in current times due to the multiple racial stereotypes it contains. There is no way that it would be allowed!
47) Cigar Institute of America – 1960S
During the ’60s, it was a popular opinion that modern men were similar to cavemen and that women were treated like property. This firm assumed that the primal impulse of men to retreat to caves could be taken advantage of in order to get them to light up cigars. Additionally, they could be persuaded to claim their own ‘cavewoman’.
48) Hormel – 1970S
During the 1970s, many individuals experienced financial hardship when they attempted to purchase groceries. Hormel recognized this issue and attempted to attract buyers by providing a meal that included meat but at a more reasonable price. Clearly, this strategy was successful, as the company is still running today.
49) World’s Largest Lemons
This commercial has a strong chance of becoming the most sexist ad campaign of the year. The Quick Way Bar Mix advertised their product with a suggestive joke, claiming to use the biggest, ripest and juiciest lemons; but instead of showcasing the product, they opted to use a picture of a woman wearing revealing clothing. Very immature and unprofessional.
50) Sony – 1980S
During the 1980s and 1990s, the Sony Walkman was a popular item, and this advert gives an accurate depiction of that era. The fashion of the period is depicted through the use of roller skates and the miniature cassette player, with the hairstyle rounding out the image of the time.
51) Pitney-Bowes Postage Meter
We are once more presented with a completely unbelievable advertisement that does not even explain what it is promoting. What is unmistakable is that it puts forward the inquiry: “Is it ever proper to murder a woman?”, which blatantly disregards and trivializes violence against women, which is never acceptable.
52) Alcoa Aluminum – 1965
This advertisement illustrated the ease of removing Alcoa Aluminum caps. However, they portrayed it as though it had to be effortless, otherwise a woman could not do it. That has a sexist and narrow-minded connotation, but that was the case in 1965.
53) Lucky Tiger Hair Tonic – 1950S
In the 1950s, Lucky Tucker Hair Tonic launched a promotional campaign that assured men that if they used their product, they would be able to attract any female they wanted. This was an unlikely guarantee, yet the advertisement kept running for a short while.
54) Ohio Carriage Company – 1900S
It is not immediately apparent from the advertisement, however, The Ohio Carriage Company was a trendsetter. The advertisement demonstrates that they do not employ minors. Moreover, they offer a thirty-day trial period for their Split Hickory Buggy. What more could one ask for?!
55) Out of the Closet Inc – 1970S
The company should be commended for their attempts to make the LGBTQ+ community more accepted during a challenging time, but the “Gay Bob” doll is viewed as extremely inappropriate in the context of today’s principles. This doll was marketed as the first of its kind, yet it is seen as highly problematic.
56) Van Heusen – 1950S
Van Heusen employed outdated stereotypes to give the appearance that their wares were only accessible to the wealthy, which was highly disrespectful to tribal men. Even though the idea of getting dressed up was attractive, it was inappropriate to make fun of another culture’s clothing. This certainly wouldn’t be allowed in the present day!
57) Code Breaker
This commercial promotes the utilization of a device called Code Breaker, which gives users an edge in playing video games on both PlayStation and PlayStation 2. Not only does the advertisement imply that cheating is permissible in relationships, but it also adopts a sexist attitude and employs language that is not acceptable for public use in order to market the product.
58) McDonald’s – 1965
This McDonald’s commercial featured a special offer for an “All American” package that included a hamburger, shake and fries for just fifty-two cents. Customers had the choice to add an extra drink to make the milkshake a dessert item. The whole meal came to less than one dollar.
59) Bell and Howell Projector – 1950S
In this instance, companies are utilizing the sexiness of a woman and her figure to market their products. The advertisement here is clearly centering on Sabrina’s chest area. It is unclear how this relates to the color slide projector
60) Palmolive (1920S)
Palmolive is a brand of personal care and household cleaning products that was first introduced in 1898 by the B.J. Johnson Soap Company. In the 1920s, Palmolive became particularly well-known for its line of bath soaps and beauty products.
During the 1920s, the Palmolive brand was heavily promoted through advertising, particularly in women’s magazines. The brand was marketed as a high-quality, luxurious product that would leave skin feeling soft and smooth. One of the most popular Palmolive products of the time was Palmolive Soap, which was advertised as being made from pure vegetable oils and containing “Palm and Olive” oils.
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