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20 Vintage Ads That Would Never Be Allowed Today

If you think that marketing today is crazy, then you have no idea what people used to create in order to sell their product. Marketing was off the roof and some commercials are simply shocking. Even for us, today in 2019.

Ever since the industrial revolution kicked in, new products made a boom on the market. Creative ads, or posters, were popular back in the day and they could be seen everywhere. Moreover, these vintage ads were racist, sexist, and even aimed toward children. Can you believe that these 20 crazy vintage ads are authentic and moreover, REAL?

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1. Cocaine Tooth Drops

Back in 1885, you could buy a toothache drops for only 15 cents. Nothing strange about it, if only the basic formula wasn’t formed on cocaine.

This ad included often photos of children, smiling and playing. Furthermore, the company claimed that its product would heal a long list of illnesses including cough, liver disease, and even cancer.

2. Ironized Yeast Tablets

According to this ad being ‘skinny’ was a massive deal breaker, and it seems that ironized yeast tablets could fix it? But, there was another story behind this ad.

The truth is that back in 1938 you couldn’t find cheap and fast food stands. People were recovering from the Great Depression, food was lacking and ironized yeast tablets were a cheap supplement that adds pounds.

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3. Gillette Safety Razor

Gillette made much of a buzz with their 2019 commercial, and it seems that they liked shocking everyone at the beginning of the 20th century as well.

The main idea here was that Gillette’s razor was so safe that you could start shaving at the earliest age. Probably as a teenager. But, you do see a baby with a razor here, right?

4. Wrong Deodorant

Having a nice hair, nice eyes, and nice teeth is simply not enough according to this vintage ad. Sometimes, there is much more than meets the eye.

There is also something about the smell because no look can buy a good smell or a wrong deodorant.

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5. Iver Johnson Revolvers

If you ever wanted to know why so many people are comfortable with having guns in their home, maybe this ad can help with it. You can see a child, a toy on the pillow and a gun in the child’s hand.

This is one of those examples where the manufacturer wanted to show how safe his product is. Luckily, we don’t let kids play with revolvers these days, right?

6. Mornidine

Back in the ’50s, people had a solution for everything, including morning sickness. That’s how Mornidine was introduced, and it became an instant hit.


This drug was prescribed to everyone who had real morning sickness, and to those who were feeling exhausted due to housework. Luckily, this drug was withdrawn in 1979.

7. 7Up For Pleasure

Everyone can fresh up with 7Up. Even the youngest ones. 7Up was extremely proud that at one period they had the youngest consumers.

But, knowing that they had youngest consumers wasn’t enough, as they had to showcase it. But, babies and 7Up, seriously?

8. Mr. Leggs Pants

This ad was signed by the advertising firm of Bateman and Gein. The main line was – It’s nice to have a girl around the house. People still don’t get it.

At the time you could buy these pants for $12.95, but nowadays you can’t put a price on this sexism.

9. The Rainier Beer

It is important to cultivate good and healthy habits form the earliest age. But, cultivating the habit of sharing a night cup with a child?

According to this ad, back in 1906, it was more beneficial for children to drink beer than water.

10. Ad For A Restaurant

Every restaurant loves a good chef. As long as that chef is in their kitchen and brings them money.


In every other situation, you should turn your loved ones into pets and go for a well-deserved meal at the closest restaurant.

11. Du Pont Cellophane

Once upon a time stork’s and cellophane company worked together in delivering babies, according to this ad.

DuPont firmly believed that ‘the best things life come in cellophane’ and they spend years communicating that message. Nowadays, they are out of the cellophane business.

12. Volkswagen Ad

During the decades Volkswagen had one of the best commercials in the car industry. However, this one failed.

When this ad was made insurers had no idea that women have fewer accidents than men.

13. Camel Cigarette

Everyone was smoking back in the ’40s and ’50s. So, the main question wasn’t – Do you smoke?, but – What are you favorite cigarette’s? And Camel did its homework.

It turned out that doctors were one of the most active smokers, and their favorite brand was Camel. Talking about accurate market research, right?

14. Chase & Sanborn Coffee

According to this ad, nothing can get us in the mood for a hot cup of coffee like a little psychical assault.

Chase & Sanborn claim that you can always find a fresh coffee by ‘store testing’. You just have to tap it first. Bottom up!

14. Candy In Cellophane

Cellophane really found its use in every area, including candy production. Maybe cellophane keeps sugar better because we all know how kids react to sugar.

This ad is all about making healthy priorities. So, the conversation between mother and a son would probably go like this: – Son, move that apple away. Have a wrapped candy.

15. Palmolive Ad

Olive oil is good for our skin and Palmolive knew it. It seems that the only housewife missed this information.

The bottom line of this ad – Ladies, if your husband isn’t romancing you, it’s your skin to blame. Therefore, you should use Palmolive to get the love you need!

16. Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic

At the time Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic for the best prescription for malaria, chills, and fever. The price was 50c.

Basically, this tonic was a mix of iron and quinine in a completely tasteless form. If tonic had a taste then it was fake. Simple, right?

17. Schlitz

Schlitz wanted to show that the house can ‘burn’ as long as the beer survives. Moreover, the perfect housewife always saves what her husband likes, no?

Is it just us, or the lady in the ad seems completely helpless?

18. The Dutch Boy’s Lead Party

LEAD is a heavy metal that can be found in many materials, including gasoline, and even radiation shielding. At the time, when this coloring book was shown in 1920’s LEAD was considered to be dangerous.

However, the National Lead company, makers of Dutch Boy Paint, actively advertised to children. Today, scientist are proving a link between LEAD and criminal behavior.

19. Blatz

It seems that at one point Blatz Beer, was actually targeting young mothers, especially those that are breastfeeding?

According to this ad not only that a mother can benefit from this drink, but a baby can as well. Furthermore, it seems that a cold one can easily increase breast milk production.

20. Pep Vitamins

So, we all heard about that one – Work hard, play hard, right? But this is the first time that we heard of this line.

But, according to Pep Vitamins, nothing beats wife’s cuteness like hard work. Her hard work, naturally. Yet, we are not sure how much success this ad actually had.

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Conversation (5)

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  • Adam

    Cocaine Tooth Drops? Seriously? And we complain about products nowadays

  • mark75

    Is it really spelled LEAD party? hahaha

  • Dawn Lewis

    I can’t believe that advertising was so disrespectful towards women! It is shameful that these were ever allowed. Thank God things changed now.

  • sammy_cox

    HAHA! THE cellophane one cracked me up!

  • Gina Evans

    Don’t know whether some of these are funny or terrible. Weird times…

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