Outrageous Vintage Ads That Would Not Be Tolerated Today

These ridiculous retro ads are so shocking that it's hard to believe they ever existed.

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 Not So Innocent

Bored Panda

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.

3 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.

4 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.

5 Tiger King

Lucky Tiger

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.

6 Virginia Slims Sports Shorts

Virgina Slims

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.

7 A Man’s World

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.

8 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.  

9 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! 

10 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. 

11 Cocaine Drops

Coccaine Cough 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!

12 Going Postal

Bored Panda

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. 

13 Sugar Rush

The Sun

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. 

14 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”. 

15 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.

16 Poor Feminine Hygiene

Smithsonian Magazine

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.

17 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.   

18 Wife Spanking

Lazer Horse

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.

19 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.

20 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? 

21 Bad Hair Day

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.

22 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. 

23 Born Gentle

Philliip Morris

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. 

24 A Dainty Grasp

Advertising Archives

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!

25 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”.