Outrageous and Unbelievable Vintage Advertisements That Wouldn’t Fly Nowadays
Laura Lee - June 12, 2019

Looking Back

by Edgar A. Guest

I might have been rich if I'd wanted the gold
instead of the friendships I've made.
I might have had fame if I'd sought for renown
in the hours when I purposely played.
Now I'm standing to-day on the far edge of life,
and I'm just looking backward to see
What I've done with the years and the days that were mine,
and all that has happened to me.

I haven't built much of a fortune to leave
to those who shall carry my name,
And nothing I've done shall entitle me now
to a place on the tablets of fame.
But I've loved the great sky and its spaces of blue;
I've lived with the birds and the trees;
I've turned from the splendor of silver and gold
to share in such pleasures as these.

I've given my time to the children who came;
together we've romped and we've played,
And I wouldn't exchange the glad hours spent
with them for the money that I might have made.
I chose to be known and be loved by the few,
and was deaf to the plaudits of men;
And I'd make the same choice should the chance
come to me to live my life over again.

I've lived with my friends and I've shared in their joys,
known sorrow with all of its tears;
I have harvested much from my acres of life,
though some say I've squandered my years.
For much that is fine has been mine to enjoy,
and I think I have lived to my best,
And I have no regret, as I'm nearing the end,
for the gold that I might have possessed.
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With the rise of mass consumerism during the 20th century, advertising became as important (if not more important) than the actual product being sold. In the days when advertisers took full liberty to use any and all methods to promote their product, some were questionable. Here’s a look back at some of the most outrageous ads that left us thinking who could have possibly approved these?


1. Not-So-Dandy Candy


via Imgur


Year: 1910


It makes a whole lot of sense that young children would be begging their parents for laxatives, right?.  Not, majorly not. Hopefully, no parents gave their children too many of these less than dandy candies, that doesn’t sound too promising. These quotes used in the advertisement were surely never said by any kid, ever.



2. Better Smell Swell


via Imgur


Year: 1939


Anyone with any kinds of brains, despite their beauty, would never think to go out smelling and without a long-lasting deodorant such as this one.  Ladies, you must learn the most important rule of charm if you want to get anywhere in life.  Really. This advertisement surely got lots of women buying it back then.


3. Twice As Nice


via Imgur


Year: 1965


This model is clearly having a blast due to the fact that she’s got not one, but two six packs of coca-cola. That’s the way to go friends.  Don’t you want to have fun too, just like the advertisement promises you? If not, and you prefer to sit home alone bored, then that’s completely fine too – go with out two six packs of coca-cola and that’s what you’ll get.



4. Winning Wieners


via Imgur


Year: 1950s


These wieners are the winners, with no doubt.  They are completely skinless, bare, and are better than all other wieners which tend to be covered in many cases, unfortunately This campaign surely puts a whole lot of thought into this poster and used psychology to reach their audience, probably quite successfully too.


5. All Tied Up



Year: 1951


If you want to claim your power and state your manliness, then, of course, you have no choice but to wear a men’s only tie.  Right? This vintage advertisement tried to be punny, and touch on the subconscious of men.  Thankfully, this wouldn’t fly today. Men wear ties to impress their wives, not to tie them down.



6. A Lemon-Lime Past Time


via Imgur


Year: 1963


PepsiCo created this ad in order to market 7-Up as an energy drink. What this basically means is that it’s the very same drink, however with slightly more sugar added. The text makes a reference to bowling twice, which gives you a pretty good idea of their target audience in the 1950s. Anyone looking for a quick and fresh lift should for sure take a few sips.


7. Don’t Be So Fresh


via imgur


Year: 1950


Chase & Sanborn took the role-playing route in this ad for their specialty fresh coffee. Clearly, this man was quite upset that this woman prepared coffee that’s not fresh. The audacity! Well, not quite, and thankfully, today when coffee is less than fresh, things are dealt with slightly differently.  We can’t exactly blame them though, they were only keeping up with the trends of the time.



8. Attack of The Snack


via Imgur


Year: 1950s


If they were thinking what we’re thinking, this is not the most appropriate sight. Nop, not in the least bit.  They most certainly succeeded however in showing us that they’re bananas are super duper tasty and probably had quite the rise in sales. It’s safe to say that they may have gone slightly bananas with this one though.


9. Ring Around Rosie



Year: 1952


Men only need to wear a pair of Broomsticks slacks to get a girl of their dreams, or so it seems at least. Play the Broomsticks way or go home. Whoever designed Broomsticks pants sure knew how to make an advertisement that would speak to the minds of young men, and get them all wanting a pair or two.



10. Double D Deal


via imgur


Year: 1952


Every girl wants to feel pretty, and Ringlet bras do just that by giving them a flattering silhouette. Nobody wants to be flat and not pretty, now do they? How could you possibly be considered a top notch, desired girl without their bra that will help you reach instant perfection? Well, you can’t – and that’s exactly why you must buy it now.


11. A Warning For Your Morning



Year: 1946


Ovaltine would like to warn all women that without their chocolately, perk-me-up drink, that you’re doomed for failure in the mornings.  What do you have to lose? Not only is it delicious and filled with sweet chocolate, but it will also save you from potential disaster due to the inevitable fatigue that will hit you since you are a woman.



12. Decor For The Floor


via Imgur


Year: 1962


The ultimate decor for the floor. And better yet, he didn’t even have to shoot her, according to the advertisement. Mr. Leggs slacks,  the price might be right, and the wrinkle-resistant feature might be tempting, but this is not the most ideal way to depict a rug. Please do take note to never create this advertisement again.


13. Native is Not Creative


via Imgur


Year: 1951


The Van Heunsen clothing line has so eloquently created an advertisement, similar to many of its time, that touches on the desire for male power while putting down women in the making.  If you wear their unique native clothing, then you will be special, will have no worries and women will go crazy over you.



14. Someone Call The Doctor


via imgur


Year: 1945


Men, take no chances, these ladies might be carrying a disease, and you could have absolutely no idea. Take your girl on over to the clinic as soon as possible, because they may very well be totally loaded with diseases. Well, this is not exactly a light way to warn men about potential diseases, and not exactly the nicest.


15. The Answer Is Yes


via imgur


Year: 1947


The answer is yes, yes, yes, and once again if it wasn’t already made clear enough – it’s yes. It is in fact illegal to kill a woman, somehow. Someone in this ad needs to take an intensive anger management course. This boss is attempting to teach this ditzy dame how to use technology, to which she looks uninterested. Nonetheless, however, the answer is still yes.