Outrageous Vintage Ads That Would Be Banned Today
1 Sexist Schlitz
Looking for an ad that will show you just how far women have come? Look no further than this retro ad for Schlitz beer.
Sure, this young bride may have accidentally burned dinner, but at least she was smart enough to serve him a cold beer.
2 Virginia Slims Sports Shorts
The irony of Virginia Slims cigarettes producing a sports outfit is just too rich to pass up. Nothing can bring out the athlete in a woman like a smoker’s cough.
So nice of them to include the Surgeon General’s warning about smoking being dangerous to your health.
3 Not So Innocent
It’s hard to believe that this ad for Love’s Baby Soft Cosmetics was ever real. Who thought this was a good idea? Calling a young girl sexy is so creepy.
The makeup, the teddy bear, her expression, it’s all wrong. There’s no way this ad would fly today.
4 Cellophane Baby
This vintage ad for cellophane is cringeworthy. They put two things that should never go together: babies and plastic.
Not to mention that the pelican in the corner has a bit of a sinister expression on its face. The entire concept is just way off base.
5 Doctors Choose Camels
This vintage ad for Camel cigarettes would be funny if it wasn’t so terrifying. It’s hard to believe that 113,997 doctors were surveyed about their cigarette preferences.
This ad was obviously created before they knew that smoking could be deadly, but it’s still chilling to see.
6 Cocaine Drops
Does your kiddo have a toothache? Why not give them a small dose of cocaine to numb the pain? This vintage ad for Cocaine Toothache Drops is just bananas.
We can only imagine the side-effects these pills had on kids at the time. Talk about hyperactive children!
7 Going Postal
We have so many questions about this disturbing vintage ad for a postage meter. What does murder have to do with postage?
Why does this woman claim to have no mechanical aptitude? Why are her coworkers watching this threatening exchange with smiles on their faces? Someone needs to call the cops.
8 Sugar Rush
Nothing like a sugar rush to help curb your appetite. Gotta get that energy up to have the willpower to eat less at mealtimes.
Let’s all enjoy an ice cream cone before lunch. Life would be so much better if one word of this retro ad was remotely true.
9 Morning Mouth
It’s annoying that companies designed many ads from the 1950s and 1960s to shame women into buying their products.
Not only did ladies have to worry about looking pretty and cleaning the house, but they also had to make sure they didn’t turn off any guys with their “morning mouth”.
10 Trix Are For Kids
Long before advertisers invented the phrase “Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids”, the company had another slogan that wasn’t as catchy.
“Trix are habit-forming” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. At least they were being honest about sugar addiction. Either way, this ad is creepy.
11 Tiger King
Could this Lucky Hair Tonic ad be more offensive? This man is an animal, and it’s not just because he has hair wax on his fur.
This one takes the term “lady killer” a bit too far, and it’s shocking that this ad was ever published in magazines.
12 Happier With A Hoover
Nothing says love like buying a woman a household appliance for Christmas. What lady wouldn’t be thrilled to discover a Hoover under the Christmas tree?
All females live to keep their carpets cleaned and wouldn’t be offended by this gift at all. She’ll be so much happier with her Hoover.
13 Poor Feminine Hygiene
Apparently, women in the olden days neglected feminine hygiene and carelessly marred their marriages. It only made sense for wives to drench their lady bits in Lysol.
Wait, what? Was this really a thing? This doesn’t seem sanitary or healthy in any way. It’s hard to believe women fell for this ad ploy.
14 Wife Spanking
Who knew that dry coffee was such a problem for decades past? A lady had better take the time to do some “store testing” for freshness or she might need to be taught a lesson.
A little light spanking ought to set her straight. This ad is disturbing, to say the least.
15 Vitamin Donuts
It’s clear by this retro ad for vitamin donuts that nutrition guidelines for children were pretty slack back in the day.
Kids probably were full of pep and vigor after eating sugary donuts as their main source of Vitamin B1. Parents would choke on their kale if this ad appeared today.
16 Bad Hair Day
This ad for Charles Antell shampoo crosses a line. This poor young lady must have been having a really bad hair day to attempt to end her life in three different ways at once.
Anyone who threatens to kill themselves over messy hair needs a lot more than shampoo to fix her problems.
17 How To Please A Lady
It seems like women in the 1950s really loved electric appliances because men were constantly encouraged to buy them for their wives for Christmas.
Was buying a toaster actually a way to please a lady? How many women silently cried into their toaster when they made breakfast the next day?
18 A Man’s World
Here we have an advertisement for men’s ties that would turn heads today. That poor housewife was easily impressed if that ugly tie motivated her to bow to her lazy husband while serving him breakfast in bed.
It’s time for her to flip that tray of food over and leave that dude.
19 Babies Love 7Up!
Moms of today would have a heart attack if they saw this retro ad encouraging mothers to give their baby 7Up. The ad should actually say, “Nothing causes infant cavities like Seven-Up!”
This just goes to show how much times have changed when it comes to pediatric guidelines.
20 A Woman’s Place
Let’s explore this vintage Pyrex ad, shall we? This bride came straight home on her wedding night and cooked a meal for her husband.
She’s still in her wedding dress and didn’t even take a moment to change her clothes, which is a good thing because everybody knows that successful marriages start in the kitchen.
21 Born Gentle
Nothing goes together like babies and cigarettes. This Philip Morris ad of a mother cradling her infant would shock people today.
It’s alarming to think of a new mom smoking near her newborn, no matter how gentle they claim the cigarette to be. Thank God we know better in our modern times.
22 A Dainty Grasp
Everybody knows that ladies are wimps and can’t open a bottle of Ketchup. Thanks to Alcoa Aluminum bottles, weak women everywhere can finally open a bottle with just a dainty twist.
There’s no chance that a male chauvinist created this ad. Nothing to see here!
23 Action Zone!
This vintage ad for Shempley’s Department store is perplexing on many levels.
We’re not sure what raises eyebrows more between the fact that men’s pants were made with an “action zone” or that someone who worked on the ad campaign came up with the term extra-large “snack sack”.
24 The Harder She Works
Gee whiz, it’s hard to believe that this housewife doesn’t feel tired after a long day of cooking, cleaning, and dusting. It’s a good thing she takes Pep vitamins because she still has to look cute when the Mister gets home from work.
There’s nothing like a little dose of speed to keep that duster moving.
25 Screen Time
Let’s discuss this ridiculous Motorola ad that lists the benefits of allowing kids to watch television. According to their research, watching TV can mean better behavior at home and better marks at school.
We now know that too much screen time can make you a dummy. Talk about false advertising!
26 No Shape For A Girl
Listen up, ladies! No one wants to look at your pear-shaped body. It’s offensive to see a girl with a big can and a small chest.
Thank goodness for Werner’s Concentrate girdle and Little Fibber bra. This ad is just absurd. Although, Little Fibber is quite a creative name for a bra.
27 Irksome Gap-Osis
Nothing can ruin a good picnic like gap-osis. We all know that it’s up to the lady to appear put together at all times if she wants to keep her man happy.
On second thought, this woman should flip the picnic blanket into his face and find a real man.
28 The First Rule Of Lasting Charm
This poor woman is so pretty, but she’s just so dumb. She probably has sweaty armpits and foul body odor, too.
Everybody knows that it takes brains to know how to put on a long-lasting deodorant. No wonder she looks so depressed. Beauty can only take you so far in life when you stink.
29 A Girl Around The House
Could this vintage ad be more sexist? Whoever approved this campaign should have been fired on the spot.
The tiger lady concept was bad enough, but transforming a woman into a rug for a man to stand on is just insane. Even the model who posed for the ad looks offended.
30 Nobody Likes A Clever Girl
Palmolive wants ladies to know that men don’t care if they’re clever. They only ask themselves if she’s pretty. A woman shouldn’t waste her time flexing her intelligence in front of a man.
The important thing is that she appears clean and presentable. Looks are everything. Everybody knows that.
31 Are Your Lips Too Red?
If your husband doesn’t kiss you anymore, it’s probably because your lipstick is too red and smeary. We all know what a turn off that can be for a man.
Thank goodness for this dramatic comic rendering of how the right rosy shade of lipstick can save your marriage.
32 That Microsheen Shine
Is there anything more attractive than a man with shiny shoes? Nothing revs up a lady like a slick pair of boots.
What’s even sexier than that? Santa Claus sliding down the chimney in boots shined with Microsheen. It’s enough to make a lady wait beside the Christmas tree in sexy lingerie.
33 Youngsters Love Karo Syrup
Smart moms know that active youngsters need an extra boost of energy during the day, and corn syrup is the perfect solution.
Children’s nutrition has come a long way when you consider this ad encouraged moms to feed babies Karo Syrup after the bottle-feeding period.
34 Pregnant Ladies Go Easy
This next vintage ad is slightly terrifying. We all know that pregnant ladies should avoid alcohol, so it’s especially disturbing to see that this was once a legit question.
The answer that Seagram provided is equally scary. “If you do drink alcohol, go very easy.” How did any of us survive?
35 The Caveman In You
This ad for cigars is wrong on so many levels. First, what exactly is a man-size feeling of power? Second, the caveman theme is so sexist.
Finally, that poor woman bowing at his feet needs to rethink her life decisions. Not to mention that cigar smoke is just gross.
36 Betty Crocker’s Mix Secrets
The award for the most offensive ad goes to this Betty Crocker advertisement. They may have meant it to be tongue-in-cheek, but domestic abuse is no laughing matter.
Even if their cake mixes are tasty, the wording of this ad was in poor taste. That’s a hard pass from us!
37 Too Smart For Morning Mouth
Nothing like a little shame to make a woman want to buy a product. It’s a competitive world out there and a woman could steal your man at any moment, especially if you have morning breath.
It’s a good thing there’s Chlorodent toothpaste to keep you feeling fresh and worthy of love.
38 A Housework Break
Don’t wait until you’re slaving over a hot ironing board to give yourself a treat. Wise housewives enjoy their 7-Up throughout their busy day.
Just don’t take too long to enjoy it because you still have to mop the kitchen, cook dinner, and look presentable for when your husband comes home from work. The 1950s were a weird era.
39 Where A Woman Belongs
What’s the deal with ads depicting women sprawled out on the ground? This was quite an advertising trend back in the day.
That lady must really love that shoe to just lie around naked all day while gazing at it. We can’t get over how demeaning this vintage ad is.
Did you know that, on average, a woman spends between 16 and 17 hours a week doing household chores? Whether she’s a woman at home or a businesswoman who has to balance work and family, the average remains about the same. While such a number of hours seems immense even for the woman at home, imagine how the businesswoman can seem to lack the time to have a life outside of her mandatory occupations? It’s several hours that could be used for many other purposes that are certainly more fun, but that will also have a very positive impact on her physical and mental health.
- Vacuuming or watching a TV show?
- Dusting all the furniture in the house or having a drink with friends?
- Washing dishes or spending time with family?
The choice is pretty obvious…
And, knowing that with the generation of millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996), women tend to be more educated than before, therefore work more, have a probably wider social network and have greater purchasing power, it is obvious that for them, household chores are far from being a priority in their lives.
Indeed, today, according to the Pew Research Center:
- 39% of women have a bachelor’s degree or higher, in contrast to 25% of boomers;
- 72% of women are in the labor market.
That’s why the shorter and sweeter the household chores are, the better!
On the other hand, still according to Pew Research Center, the millennials have been greatly affected by the Great Recession, so that many of them continue to live with their parents much longer than previous generations. In 2018, 15% of the 25-to-37-year-old generation was still living in the family home, nearly double the number of past generations combined. While this cohabitation may be viewed negatively for some reasons, it does have great financial benefits for both parties, but also benefits at the household level!
By sharing the space, everyone can share the household chores, and therefore have more free time for other things! If we add to that the countless ways to optimize our time and make cleaning easier, it is possible to greatly reduce this average of 16 to 17 hours of housework per week!
So whether it’s daily or weekly chores, or meal preparation, no one will say no to a few good tricks to make it quick and easy. Thanks to our tips and tricks articles, you’ll be able to save a lot of time on housework and enjoy more the good things in life!