Disgusting Ads

12 Apr

I came across the website for Seriously Disturbing Vintage Advertisements.  It is an accurate description.  The advertisements push the boundaries of decency by today’s standards.

  • Physicians smoking cigarettes.
  • A child playing with a revolver that claims it cannot accidentally discharge.
  • A soap purporting to change a black child white.
  • Protein cereal portraying a woman’s “ideal size.”
  • A kneeling women serving a man breakfast in bed.
  • Using household appliances for auto-erotic purposes.
  • Getting an instantaneous cure with cocaine toothache drops.
  • Children selling adult products.

What I find disappointing in this menagerie is the dates of the advertisements are absent.   Wouldn’t it be insightful to know when these vintage advertisements were considered appropriate?  Perhaps they wouldn’t be as disturbing when viewed within the context of their publication.  I imagine at some point in the future Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad allegedly trivializing Black Lives Matter will be included in this collection.

I’d also like to understand the relationship between the product and the ad.  For example, there was an ad for a Pitney-Bowes Postage Meter with the million dollar question of “Is it always illegal to kill a woman?”  Perhaps I’m just dense, but what does the question have to do with a postage meter?  For some reason I can imagine discussions involving this concept on Bewitched (Television series from 1964 to 1972) since Darrin Stephens was in advertising or Mad Men (AMC series from 2007 to 2015), a drama about a New York prestigious ad agency.

Racism, sexual innuendo, and blatant sexism run rampant throughout this vintage ads. I’m not sure things have changed significantly.  Perhaps the racism has been toned down a little but sexual innuendo and sexism continue abated.

Take a look for yourself.  Review the advertisements.  Ignore the comments that have been added.  The comments represent someone who is simply looking at these ads today without any historical context whatsoever.

Just think about it!



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