At a digital marketing agency like Avalaunch Media, marketing channels are THE predominant conversation topic. Marketing channels are always morphing and agencies like ours are charged with keeping up with the changes — that’s what clients pay us for. Take Instagram in the past week for example. Who could have foreseen this social juggernaut would be trialing a new strategy of “hiding likes” across six countries? It’s an agency’s job to continually devise ways to adapt to such changes, but seemingly massive upheavals are nothing new in the modern age of digital marketing channels.
Social standards constantly evolve. Here’s a lighthearted reminder of ads that were, for a time, common and accepted across marketing channels.
1: Keep Those Kids Hopped up on Soda
Back in the 1950s, 7UP claimed to be the “all-family drink.” Not sure what the worst part about this ad campaign was — feeding 7UP to babies, or suggesting mixing the super-sugary citrus drink with milk. Yuck!
2: Volkswagen: Always Pushing Boundaries, Right or Wrong
We all know by now that Volkswagen has had its share of controversy lately — but through inspirational marketing, it has bounced back. Back in the 1960s, the brand also got away with this ad that touted the affordable parts you could buy when your wife inevitably crashed the VDub. Wow. OK.
3: Cooking, Cleaning, and Dusting: How DOES She Do It?
Was it really the vitamins that allowed women to work so hard, or was it that their husbands were a little…lazy, perhaps? Lessons should be learned from the past, and this ad would not fly today.
4: Cocaine for Toothaches
Medical marijuana is here, and it’s finally becoming accepted as beneficial for people’s health. But at one stage long ago, it was cocaine people turned to for pain relief. High-flying celebrities of the 80s will tell you…it’s a good thing those days are over.
5: From Cocaine to…Coke. In the Morning.
Soda companies have long waged battles to encourage people to drink soda instead of coffee in the morning. In the 80s, Pepsi launched “Pepsi A.M.” and Coca-Cola campaigned for coffee lovers to drink “Coke in the Morning.” In 2013, Mountain Dew released “Kickstart,” a soda made with caffeine, 5% juice, and vitamins B and C — and it proved popular. So maybe this old Coke ad wasn’t so far off the mark after all?
6: Dishevelled Man’s a Murderous Mess
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. In case you were still in any doubt, the answer is yes — it is always illegal to kill a woman. Always.
7: Caught in a Cloud of Harassment
As a method of seduction, blowing smoke in someone’s face does not seem likely to result in success. More likely, it will result in a justified harassment complaint. One has to wonder at the amount of smokers who actually believed in the messaging behind this marketing campaign?
8: Baby Hits the Bottle
Parenting is difficult and always has been, if this old-school ad is anything to go by. Despite the challenges of sleep deprivation and the persuasive nature of this Blatz marketing display, don’t be tempted to use malt and hops as a “stimulating tonic” to comfort your child!
9: Singing in the Rain
Finally, here’s an ad with a message that makes perfect sense. Not only did Bradley Group Showers help with water conservation and money saving — they also provided a great opportunity for folks to socialize.
10: Forget Studying. Just Watch TV Instead!
In the 1950s, Motorola campaigned the idea that TV was of great educational benefit to your child. If only it were that easy…no need for homework, and parents simply plop their kids down in front of the tube to improve their behavior and boost their grades!
11: Wake up Gay in the Morning
The word gay is not used as it was back in the 1940s when this Ovaltine advertisement was created. The more modern use of “gay” puts a lighthearted twist on this happy ad.
12: Just Asking for Trouble
This overtly offensive Kenwood Chef ad suggests that women belong in the kitchen. You’d have to be very brave and very stupid to try pulling this line out today — in a marketing campaign or at home.
Thankfully, we’re far from the end of the marketing channel evolution. Social marketing campaigns 20 years from now will look much different, hopefully for the better. Some will even prove timeless, for good reasons. Will your marketing campaign direction go down in history alongside the likes of marketing powerhouses Volkswagen, Apple, or even socially savvy Wendy’s? Time will tell.
11 thoughts on “Old School Ads That Won’t Fly in 2019”
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?
lots of time and patience ….. and Google 🙂
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.
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 🙂
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!
Thanks for the laughs.