15 Vintage Ads that Would Be Banned Today
Advertising 20+ years ago was quite a bit different than it is today. These vintage ads made comments and innuendos on equality, race, sex, mental health and body size that would likely get them banned now days (as they should be). From headlines and slogans like “So the harder a wife works the cuter she looks!” to “More doctors smoke Camels,” many of these old ads simply aimed to take advantage of people’s insecurities.
Chase & Sanborn Coffee – 1950s
This vintage ad from the 1950s shows a woman spread across a man’s lap, with the man about to spank her and the headline “If your husband ever finds out.” The ad appears to imply it was okay for a husband to beat his wife if she did not store test coffee brands.
Camel Cigarettes – 1949
“More Doctors Smoke Camels than any other cigarette!” This ad that would definitely be banned today touts the fact that a nationwide survey’s results found that more doctors smoked Camels than other cigarettes – while at the same time showing a five-year-old girl at the doctor’s office exclaiming “I’m going to grow a hundred years old!”
Kellogg’s – 1938
Iver Johnson Revolvers – 1904
This handgun company promoted their product by showing a young girl laying in bed playing with a handgun and the slogans “Papa says it won’t hurt us” and “Absolutely Safe.” It also states “Accidental Discharge Impossible.”
Weyenberg Massagic Shoes – 1972
The slogan for this old vintage ad from the 1970s says “Keep her where she belongs…” and the ad depicts a bare breasted woman lying next to a man’s shoe. This sexist ad was featured in Playboy magazine.
Vintage Ads that Would Be Banned Today – Cocaine Toothache Drops – 1885
Alcoa Aluminum – 1953
You mean a woman can open it? — In 1953 Alcoa Aluminum produced the above advertisement to promote their HyTop twist-off bottle cap. The vintage ad featured a woman wearing bright red lipstick and a surprise on her face as she is about to open a jar of Del Monte ketchup. The word woman is underlined in the tagline and the first sentence of the article stated “Easily-without a knife blade, a bottle opener, or even a husband!”
Eastern Airlines – 1970s
But not as an Eastern Airlines stewardess.
We pass up around 19 girls, before we get one that qualifies. If looks were everything, it wouldn’t be so tough. Sure, we want her to be pretty… don’t you? That’s why we look at her face, her make-up, her complexion, her figure, her weight, her legs, her grooming, her nails and her hair.
But we don’t stop there. We talk. And we listen. We listen to her voice, her speech. We judge her personality, her maturity, her intelligence, her intentions, her enthusiasm, her residency and her stamina.
We don’t want a stewardess to be impatient with a question you may have, or careless in serving your dinner, or unconcerned about your needs.
So we try to eliminate these problems by taking a lot more time and passing up a lot more girls.
It may make our job a lot harder. But it makes your flying a lot easier.
Lucky Tiger Hair Tonic – 1955
Jockey – 1970s
This vintage ad for Jockey junior underwear claims that they keep their fit wash after wash. That makes sense and all, but what does not make sense is why the ad shows a young boy with a gun pointed down his underwear?
Mr Leggs Slacks – 1960s
Have Some Fun. Beat Your Wife Tonight. – 1970s
Broomsticks Slacks – 1967
Tipalet Cigarettes – 1970
Van Heusen – 1951
Modern advertising can certainly still be sexist and racist to some degree. But, thankfully there are tighter industry regulations that prevent anything quite as bad as these vintage ads from being prominently featured today.