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Ads You'll Never See Again

Updated on November 23, 2012

Where Were You, Way Back Then?

The year was 1950. My parents had just bought a home in Santa Clara, California, and I was nine years old. I didn't pay much attention to advertising back then - the ads weren't aimed at kids (boy, have things changed), and - then as now - television ads just irritated me.

A friend sent me this collection of old of those endlessly circulated emails that people (primarily women, I suspect) forward endlessly to each other. These ads brought home the massive cultural changes our society has generated...some bad, some terrific. At any rate, I decided that this collection was perfect for Squidoo, so here 'tis.

Light Up A Lucky, Santa

In 1950, Lucky Strike sales topped 82 billion in the United States alone. Everybody, including Santa Claus, smoked, and "Luckys" were the second most popular brand.

It's Never Too Soon

Marketing of harmful products to small children sounds strangely familiar to anyone who has seen ads for Ritalin and other psychotropic drugs.

Getting your infants hooked on caffeine and sugar sounds nearly obscene these days, but then, we've moved on to flogging every conceivable pharmaceutical.

More Doctors Smoke Camels

More than 92 billion Camels were sold in 1950, making the brand #1 in the market. This may have been due to the fact that Camels and Lucky Strikes were included in military K Rations during World War II.

Even Women Can Do It!

Madison Avenue's denigration of women has stayed with us, but not in the form illustrated on this page. Women are, alas, still portrayed as terminally stupid, shallow baby-making machines.

The Youngest Customers In The Business

Time For A Spanking?

Wow...I wonder how much spousal abuse this monster spawed?

Is It Always Illegal To Kill A Woman?

This one shocked me, not only because of the headline, but because the viewer is left wondering what the heck the point was.

Blow In Her Face - and she'll follow you anywhere.

Not any more.

The Harder A Wife Works... - the cuter she looks.

Before She Starts To Cry...

This Is A Computer?

Soap, Sex, and Cigarettes

Soap, Sex, and Cigarettes: A Cultural History of American Advertising
Soap, Sex, and Cigarettes: A Cultural History of American Advertising

An examination of how American advertising both mirrors society and creates cultural trends. From the first colonial newspaper ads to the latest internet sites for ad agencies,the author explores the growth of American advertising , how products and brands were produced and promoted, and how advertisements and agencies reflect and actually create cultural trends and issues.


Good Grief, Gertie!

This ad from the 1800s asks "Would you let a 15-foot tapeworm live in your tummy in order to shed unwanted pounds?

How does one compare a "sanitized" tapeworm to an unsanitized tapeworm? The mind boggles. (It's now illegal to import or sell tapeworms into the United States.)

They Shoot Straight And Kill.

Before You Scold Me, Mom...

Women Yearn To Be Tamed?

Ronald Reagan & Chesterfields

Chesterfields were #3 in 1950 sales, at 66 billion units.

Blatz & Breast Milk

I recall our family doctor recommending Guinness to my nursing wife. He said it was a good source of nutrients, and would help increase milk production. The polysaccharide in the barley used to make the stuff seems to stimulate prolactin, which helps make more milk. Alas, the alcohol has the opposite effect - not to mention the danger of Fetal alcohol syndrome. Happily, non-alcoholic beer will get the job done without causing a subsequent reduction in milk production or having a negative impact on the health of the baby.

Got Muddy Skin?

Senile Agitation?

Wow - talk about elder abuse!

More Mysogynism From Madison Avenue?

Your #1 Reason For Midol

How To Wake Up Gay

Looking For A Gay Cruise?

Keep Up With The House?

The Ideal Christmas Gift?

That's What Wives Are For

She'll Be Happier With A Hoover

Teeth Bothering You?

It's Howdy Doody Time!

High Tech Beer Cans?

Which Ads Interested You?

Which Ad interested you the most? (Listed from top to bottom.)

See results

Share Your Reflections Here!

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    • Sed-me profile image


      3 years ago from An undisclosed location.

      This is the greatest hub ever. Oddly enough, I just saw these today on the net... what are the odds? I laughed so hard.

    • KarenHC profile image


      5 years ago from U.S.

      These old ads were a hoot to browse through! "Christmas morning, she'll be happier with a Hoover"!


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