Ads you’ll never see again

And, as you can see, it’s a good thing too.

As another unlamented former ad campaign used to say, we’ve come a long way, baby.


  1. subbie says

    And I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that all those women from that “culture where women stood head and shoulders above the men” are defined by the kind of “women’s work” that they did.

  2. MLR says

    Those ads offer evidence of just how mythical those “good old days” religious conservatives often whine about really are. Clearly what we as a society have gained far outweighs anything we might have lost.

  3. janeymack says

    Some of those really made me wince! I ‘get’ them, though–obviously don’t support the attitudes, but I understand where they are coming from. All but one. What is with the “blow smoke in her face” thing? Aside from the fact that I would probably slap any guy who did that right in the chops, in what universe would that seem cool or even acceptable? I don’t get that one at all.

  4. Mano Singham says

    I too was surprised that women would ever have liked having smoke blown directly into their faces. Maybe this was at a time when women felt obliged to say they liked stuff that they really didn’t.

  5. Kilian Hekhuis says

    Given the ridiculous shoulder fillings and matching hairdo, I’d say this add is from the mid-80s? Amazing it was able to run even then…

  6. says

    Given the ridiculous shoulder fillings and matching hairdo, I’d say this add is from the mid-80s?

    Probably late 70s. I remember those ads. 🙁

    What’s amazing is that the fashions in these ads (which were everywhere – buses, magazines, billboards…) set the trend for coming years. So, yes, everyone dressed like this in the 80s but it was because these looks first broke on the scene in the late 70s.

  7. Francisco Bacopa says

    Hey folks, the poofy shoulders were NOT a late 70’s thing. Furthermore, we can set a date for this ad without making fashion based inferences. The ad cites a 1985 FTC study, so the ad has to be from 1985 or later. Read the fine print.

  8. Kilian Hekhuis says

    As far as the internet can be trusted, it seems I was exactly right. See here, which dates the ad as 1985.

  9. Tim says

    Interesting question!

    Regarding the “blowing smoke” ad, my thoughts are that it is a pretty straight-forward attempt to link the product with sex. To me, the ad says, “Buy our product and you’ll get laid by beautiful women.”

    The behavior in these types of ads (blowing smoke in someone’s face, in this case) is — for marketing purposes — irrelevant. Most male consumers of cigarettes from that era were never going to get close enough to a beautiful woman to attempt the behavior.

    In this line of advertising, we — sadly — haven’t come a long way. Axe cosmetics are particularly over the top, such as this ad, which implies if a male uses their products, women will simply begin taking off their clothes:

    No need for anything as strenuous as blowing smoke, guys! Just walk into a room wearing our product! You’ll have all the women you want!

    As for alternate realities, this “blowing smoke” ad isn’t that much different than the Hoover ad. In what universe is it acceptable to buy one’s wife a vacuum cleaner as a Christmas present?

    Again, these are just my thoughts …

  10. mikeym says

    “Brilliant, J.D.! We’ll exploit those gals with ads congratulating them for being too smart to be exploited any more!”

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