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Strange and Funny Thanksgiving Ads and Greetings

Updated on November 10, 2019
bethperry profile image

Beth Perry enjoys collecting amusing and unusual announcements, articles and greeting cards from around the world.

This month the U.S. once again celebrates Thanksgiving. Most Americans fondly commemorate this holiday with feasting and making joyful memories. Just as the Pilgrims did alongside their neighbors the Wampanoags in 1621, we use this day to put aside differences and spend time with family and friends. We enjoy a big feast, we laugh, we play. We turn our thoughts to those things in our lives for which we should be most thankful.

Over the decades, however, the spirit of thankfulness has had to share the holiday with commercialism. Makers and sellers of goods have given us some Thanksgiving-oriented products which are over-the-top or tasteless; and other times promote products in the crassest ways imaginable. Annual celebrating has also provided our culture some rather unique clich├ęs associated with Thanksgiving. Some of these pertain to things like overcooked turkey, adults having to sit at the "kids table", men unbuckling their trousers after a huge meal, and the headache of budgeting time to see every family member on our to-visit list. Such things can be awkward or irritating when they occur, and yet with the passing of time we look back at them with sincere fondness.

The following cards and advertisements were created for the Thanksgiving season. Among them you will find both the strange and the humorous.

The collection begins with greeting cards. I don't know why, but I particularly like this first one. Maybe it is because eagles are awesome animals to begin with. Or perhaps the tone of the message just goes along so well with those serious, glaring eyes?

We find another popular animal used for this second greeting card. Now while kittens are not quite as intimidating as eagles, you have to give this little guy credit for trying to look fierce!

Ah yes, we should never forget how the Puritans sailed across the wide sea aboard their stylized dragon-headed longboat The Mayflower in search of Maine lobster beds to pillage and plunder.

Sigh. For goodness sake, card company, take a good look at your stock images before going to print!

This card is a prime example of how the labor of Thanksgiving preparations and the ingratitude of family can bring out the sarcasm queen in a woman. Men, just remember the best meals are prepared with love - and best enjoyed when you make the conscientious effort not to bring up how your mom made it.

Now this card expresses real appreciation from a man - along with a humorous swipe at in-laws.

This artful little card is adorable, even if it does give just a whiff of adult doublespeak.

And mentioning doublespeak, I think we can agree that compared to the last card this one is just a wee bit less subtle??

We now move on to some advertisements. A few of these are vintage, others newer. But they each demonstrate the wackiness which holiday celebrations can attract.

This vintage advertisement for Carter's Trigs is the epitome of gauche. The "pilgrim" father and son parading around in their underpants. A similarly dressed turkey carrying a long wand with a ball attached at one end. The foreground visual of a protruding stump of wood. All this from an era when media censors demanded absolute conformity to lily-white standards. Looking at this ad, however, we could conclude the Carter's executives either weren't paying attention to the goings on in the ad department or they had a crafty sense of humor. Whatever happened behind the scenes, this ad is a classic in awkward marketing technique.

Again from the what-the-heck-were-they-thinking category we have this retro Hellman's promotion. The ad showcases a creation called cranberry candles. I don't know how many people back in the day actually tried their hand at making cranberry candles, but I suspect just seeing this culinary-artwork nightmare on the dinner table ruined a few appetites!

Buying local produce is a commendable choice, and here's a nice ad for a local family-owned butcher shop. They sure make their turkeys sound fresh and appetizing. The problem is the turkey shown in the photo must be one of those mini breeds. There may be enough meat on that breast to feed a family of Lilliputians, but the rest of us would come away from the table still hungry.

As well-meaning as vegans may be, some of them can be preachy and downright insensitive. This overly enthusiastic vegan decided to take the pro-herbivore message into a chat room, but they forgot two basic rules for successful promotion: 1. Know your medium, 2. Understand your audience. Their attempted crusade very quickly turned into a huge FAIL.

Not everyone is averse to vegans. As this market leaflet suggests (and Hannibal Lecter would surely agree) vegans may even provide tasty culinary uses?

With this ad we have crass holiday marketing at its best - or worst, depending how you feel about a business willfully insulting their potential customers.

Some may feel this store ad could be deemed insulting or offensive, though I suspect the designer responsible just wasn't paying attention to layout.

Looking at this online boutique ad it's probably a safe bet to say the seller had their teenage son upload the images. I could be wrong, but yeah, probably not.

This personal ad is old, and we can tell this not so much by when it was published, but by the fact the guy trusted complete strangers enough to publicly disclose what his missing turkey had swallowed. I just don't see this level of faith in our fellow man occurring today.

Most of us think of flavored gelatin as a dessert, treat or the meal a dentist recommends after oral surgery. But there was a time, as this ad reveals, when the Jello company tried convincing us firmed gelatin makes a handy-dandy container for leftovers. Whoever coined the phrase, "There's always room for Jello!" surely missed this stomach-turning image.

Nothing says cheeky like spinning a famous movie quote into a sales pitch for your holiday advertisement. At least this one is done with tasteful humor. And when it's food being promoted, most of us are likely to agree humor works much, much better than the imagery of that Jello-for-leftovers ad!


Submit a Comment
  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    2 weeks ago from Tennesee

    Luis G Asuncion, you are very welcome. Thanks much for dropping by!

  • Luis G Asuncion profile image

    Luis G Asuncion 

    2 weeks ago from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines

    Wow cool. Although, I am not an American, however because I have a passion to read the history of the Americans, I am learning from you guys. Thanks for sharing.

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    2 weeks ago from Tennesee

    Audrey Hunt, thanks much and I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 

    3 weeks ago from Idyllwild Ca.

    I sure enjoyed these Thanksgiving funnies. I'll be sharing this with family and friends.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • bethperry profile imageAUTHOR

    Beth Perry 

    4 weeks ago from Tennesee

    Kari Poulsen, thanks very much, I am glad you enjoyed the collection!

  • k@ri profile image

    Kari Poulsen 

    4 weeks ago from Ohio

    Thanks for the laughs!! I really like the "everything to dress your turkey" one. I just keep chuckling about it. :D


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