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Funny vintage ads you would definitely never see today

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A very hungry caterpillar

Oct 12, 2021, 10:26

Advertising is a tricky thing. You have to strike a balance. Funny, but not annoying. Not too subtle to go unnoticed, but also not too in your face. And you need to have a quality that appeals to the audience you’re selling to, as well. That’s one of the reasons why old ads can be so funny. Things that were amusing, or novel, or useful to older generations can now seem so foreign and ridiculous to us now. In the early days of computers, talking to people in another country was revolutionary. In the early days of preservatives, people tried to can everything, … and we do mean EVERYTHING.

There’s also an element of humor in the offensive things you’d see that would never get the green light today. So peruse these offensive vintage ads and have a laugh, and stop to wonder: What ads of ours will people be laughing at in a few years?

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A very hungry caterpillar

Sugary Goodness
 

 
Yeah, a baby gulping down a soda straight from the bottle certainly wouldn’t fly today thanks to our knowledge of the dangers from sugary sodas and soft drinks. The highlight of the ad’s fine print has to be the pronouncement that the 11-year-old pictured wasn’t the brand’s youngest customer “by any means.”

A very hungry caterpillar

Hopefully They'll Drop Him
 


 
Yeah, the gender and sexual politics of this Van Heusen ad would not – and frankly should not fly today. Neither would the racially-tinged “let’s go native” tag-line for that matter.

A very hungry caterpillar

The Secret's Out...
 

 
This has actually been a popular dieting fad on and off for years: Baby food is high in calories and nutrients while not actually being that much food, because it’s basically just puréed fruits and vegetables. It seems that at one point Gerber took advantage of this idea and started marketing their food to teenaged girls. Honestly, as far as diets go, it’s not nearly the worst one out there.

A very hungry caterpillar

Someday...
 
 

 
Boy if they could see us now, right? Hey, they weren’t wrong, pretty much everything is “smart” nowadays, but it’s probably a little more smart than they were thinking with these 128 function terminals. What do you think the inventors of this baby would do if we showed them a smartphone?

A very hungry caterpillar

No Big Deal, He Just Needs Privacy
 
 

 
The most amusing part of this is that it’s not even an ad for a cigar, it’s an ad for Eichler, a company that built homes in the post-war era. That kid needs the peace and quiet of a brand new home to smoke his cigar, gosh darn it!

A very hungry caterpillar

'Golly Gee, I Love My Harley!'
 
 

 
This is definitely not the image Harley Davidson Motorcycles tries to portray nowadays. A businessman in a suit going to work (without a helmet because what was safety back then) is a far cry from the leather-jacketed, bandannaed, bearded Harley Davidson man we’re used to seeing. (And who else is glad they stopped calling it “mot-o-ride?”)

A very hungry caterpillar

Bullet Bra
 

 
Ah, yes, back in the days when you wanted your bra to look like a suit of armor and your breasts to look like a pair of sharp cones. Those ’50s girls were ready for battle! Stay back, boys!

A very hungry caterpillar

But Your NOSE?
 
 
“Your nose is ugly, and plastic surgery hasn’t been invented yet, but don’t worry! You can just wear this metal nose cage on your face and TAME your nose! You won’t damage your cartilage or look like a character from a horror movie at ALL!

A very hungry caterpillar

"Corn Saved My Marriage"
 

 
“I was about to leave my emotionally abusive husband and lead a better life, but then I fed him THIS CORN and he had a beat of nostalgia and suddenly became a slightly better person. Thank goodness for corn!”

A very hungry caterpillar

'Oh No, Sally Fell Out of the Car Again'

 
You’ll never complain about those childproof locks again, will you?

Seriously, though, there are several other things that could have prevented this, such as seatbelts. Or not having suicide doors on your car.