Until the last few decades, “truth in advertising” was a joke and for the most part, companies just said whatever they wanted to in their advertisements. Although the 1930s (and earlier) were especially ridiculous, we’ve found some pretty outrageous ads all the way up to the 1970s.
From the silly and male chauvinistic, to the dirty deceptive lies, here are some of the most ridiculous vintage ads ever made by the Mad Men of advertising.
01) Open Your Beer Ban The Schlitz Way
“Some day all beer cans will open this easy!” – Schlitz 1960s
Someday. We can hardly wait! Please let us know when that day arrives.
02) Blow In Her Face
“Blow in Her Face and She’ll Follow You Anywhere” – Tipalet 1970s
Wow, I didn’t realize bukake was popular in the 1970s. This ad is so wrong in so many ways.
03) Doctors Smoke Camels
“More Doctors Smoke CAMELS Than Any Other Cigarette!” – Camel 1949
We have a tiny correction to this ad: “More DEAD doctors smoke CAMELS than any other cigarette!”
04) Wives Are Kitchen Slaves
“The Chef does everything but cook – that’s what wives are for!” – Kenwood 1960s
Because women are cooking machines too!
05) Wife Spanking
“If your husband ever finds out you’re not store-testing for fresher coffee…” – Chase & Sanborn Coffee 1950s
Is this ad endorsing domestic violence over a pot of coffee or a sex game? We can’t tell. Let us know in the comments.
06) Have a Fag!
“Let’s Face It – You Could Get Hit By A BUS Tomorrow. Go On – Have A Fag!” – Viz Magazine 1992
Once the dangers of smoking became known, cigarette companies tried to put a positive spin on smoking. This ad is a parody by Viz Magazine of those efforts. Regardless, these guys definitely make smoking look cool, right? Don’t you want to friend them on Facebook?
07) The Impossible Ketchup Bottle Cap
“You mean a woman can open it?” – Alcoa Aluminum 1950s
Three cheers for aluminum caps! A woman can open them without a knife, bottle openers or even a husband!
08) Lard = Happiness
“They’re Happy Because They Eat Lard” – Viz Magazine 1992
If this family were any happier, they’d weigh over 300 pounds each and have constant heart attacks. But unfortunately, this ad isn’t real. It’s from the British humor magazine Viz (Issue 52, February / March 1992; Page 21).
09) Lysol for Vaginas
“For Feminine Hygiene use Lysol Always!” – Lysol 1920s
Ladies, don’t douche with salt or soda. Use Lysol or else you’ll be trapped in a spider web of despair and your husband will be distant and indifferent towards you. Definitely a strange ad.
10) Wake Up Gay
“To Wake up GAY In the Morning!” – Ovaltine 19??
And you probably thought it was TANG. Now we know the Ovaltine secret! Please post a comment below if you know what year this ad was from.
11) Work Hard. Be Cute.
“So the harder a wife works, the CUTER she looks!” – Kellogg’s PEP Cereal 1930s
“Gosh Honey, you seem, to thrive on cooking, cleaning, and dusting and I’m all tuckered out by closing time. What’s the answer?” Apparently fueling up your wife with the vitamins in PEP cereal.
12) Smoking Santa
“Wrapped and Ready To Put A Smile In Your Smoking” – Chesterfield Cigarettes 1955
There’s something so wrong about a smoking Santa Claus. Think he has his own custom branded ashtrays at The North Pole?
13) Sargent Santa
“More Than Ever… It’s Chesterfield” – Chesterfield Cigarettes 1942
14) Tapeworm Diets
“Eat! And Always Stay Thin! Fat the Enemy that is Shortening Your Life Banished!
How? With Sanitized Tape Worms.” – Caswell’s 1910s
OMG! The tapeworm diet!? What’s not to like? These tapeworms are Easy to Swallow, Sanitized, and there are No Ill Effects! Tapeworms truly are Friends for a Fair Form!
15) Loose Girls Sink Soldiers
“You May Think She’s Just Your Gal but She May Be Everyone’s Pal.” – US Government 1944
That’s right guys. V.D. is always a female problem!?
16) Vibrating Fingers
“Vibra-Gum Massager” – Dentagene Company 1960s
I wonder if there is another use for this vibrator finger “gum massager”?
NERD NOTE: The 1930s were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression. In East Asia, the rise of militarism occurred. In Western Europe, Australia and the United States, more progressive reforms occurred as opposed to the extreme measures sought elsewhere. Roosevelt’s New Deal attempted to use government spending to combat large-scale unemployment and severely negative growth. Ultimately, it would be the beginning of World War II in 1939 that would end the depression.