Old School Ads That Wouldn’t Fly Today

Old School Ads That Wouldn’t Fly Today

We have talked about all kinds of Marketing Channels here at Avalaunch Media, and at one point in time, these ads had their 15 minutes.  Social standards have done their fair share of evolving across the years and in many cases, what use to be widely acceptable in the mainstream, is now deemed taboo. With this social-shift in mind, we’ve decided to highlight some old school advertisements in the gallery below that are definitive proof that the times they are a changing…

Illegal to Kill a Woman?

Is it always illegal to kill a woman? As much as this might seem like a no-brainer, the topic was apparently up for debate in past generations. Rest assured, we looked it up and the answer is yes, it is always illegal to kill a woman.



Lane Bryant Chubbies

Maybe it was endearing back in the day when plus-size was the preferred size; however, calling bigger women Chubbies in this day and age will drastically increase your odds of being slapped across the face or with a law suit.



Cocaine Toothache Drops

Although the science behind these vintage cocaine toothache drops is tried and true (if you can’t feel your face, you can’t feel your tooth), the now-illegal substance is the last thing you’d feed your children these days – if you’re looking to stay out of prison that is.



Blowing Smoke

The process of courtship has evolved across the years, and although there are many ways to approach a woman, recent studies have shown that blatantly blowing smoke in her face, as your method of seduction, will have the same result as casually offering her chloroform – AKA she will not be following you anywhere.



A Girl Around the House

We’re not sure whether the modern Women’s Rights organizations or the Animal Cruelty societies would show the biggest resistance toward this vintage ad campaign but one thing is for sure, the black and white print is not the only outdated element in this message.



Blatz Beer

Yeah, last we checked the Surgeon General has advised us that infants and alcohol don’t mix. While Blatz Beer might have been a refreshing beverage for the mother in its day, the modern interpretation of this ad’s fine print is: It’ll get your kid drunk!

IMG SOURCE: http://katherinegscott.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/blatz-beer-ad.jpg


More Doctors Smoke Camels

Speaking of the Surgeon General, we have a sneaking suspicion that this physician-endorsed Camel Cigarettes advertisement was released in the years prior to the connection made between cigarettes and … cancer. Just a hunch.



Group ShowerConsidering the NBA’s major campaign at the moment is intently focused on anti-gay slurs in sports, this all-male group shower is certainly timely but not necessarily the most appropriate angle on the controversial issue.


How TV Helps ChildrenNo it’s not a telethon benefiting under privileged children in third-world countries, it’s Motorola campaigning the idea that TV is the best thing for your child. Much like cigarettes, isn’t it interesting to see how much our tune has changed over the years?


Wives Work HarderWe’re not sure what lab discovered these groundbreaking results but these would have to be some pretty amazing vitamins to justify the call-out that women get cuter, the harder they work. Is this like beer goggles?


CourageFeaturing a brave English soldier, making his last courageous stand against the black “savages,” it doesn’t take a sociologist to recognize that this blatantly racist ad would not fly into today’s totally PC world.


Gay CruiseAlthough this ad is unintentionally slanted toward the flamboyant puppeteers, Gay Rights groups in this day and age would have a field day refuting the gesture that all homosexual men are the theatrical type.


I Wake Up GayWhile this ad seems innocent enough and was simply referencing the dictionary definition of gay (lighthearted and carefree), the three-letter-word has obviously morphed in meaning since this Ovaltine advertisement from the late 1940s.


Guns for XmasWith all of the issues surrounding gun control in the US these days, this ad would either go over really well or not at all – depending on which circle you run in. Regardless, of where you stand on the debate, it’s safe to say that the vending of guns is not as liberal as it once was and this print ad might not run as freely as the old days.


That’s What Wives are For…Rounding out the patriarchal ads of old on this list is this overtly offensive Kenwood Chef ad that suggests that women belong in the kitchen. While this might have been acceptable at the time, good luck getting away with this against today’s standards.



  • I’ll share this with my wife tonight. She’ll love it!

    I’m also going to the store to buy some Ovaltine. I want to feel Gay in the morning?!

  • Matt – I’m not sure how you dug these up, but it is pretty amazing to see how cultural sensitivity changes over the years.

  • This might be the best blog post I’ve ever seen. I echo Josh, how did you dig these up?

  • @Joshua Dorkin
    @Dan Bischoff

    lots of time and patience ….. and Google 🙂

  • debra mastaler

    Great piece Mat 🙂 The “Every Voyage a Gay Cruise” photo? That’s actually Burr Tillstrom holding the puppets Kukla and Ollie. They were part of a kids show called Kukla, Fran and Ollie. I remember watching the show when I was a kid 🙂

  • Wow. Loved them all, but I need to circulate that Blatz Beer ad to my breastfeeding friends.

  • @debra mastaler

    Thanks Debra! Um, I don’t remember any of these hahahaah 🙂

  • Interesting how times change. This is quite nice collection – perhaps I should try some of it for myself 🙂 Controversy marketing 🙂

  • William Brown

    Those ad pictures are priceless! Where did you get that? And I laughed at the “Cocaine Toothache Drops” 🙂 Is it addictive?

  • It really is amazing how things change over the years! I watched an old Disney movie with my 2 year old yesterday and was shocked by some of the lines!

  • Michael Cornish

    Thanks for the laughs.