Vintage Ads That Were Once Socially Acceptable That Would Get Brands Canceled Today

As time has gone on, ads have become more and more socially progressive. Sure, people have fought that progress every step of the way, but there usually isn’t blatant ignorance in advertising campaigns anymore. After all, companies don’t want to do anything to hurt their bottom line.

Be prepared to be shocked by what the 1940s, ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s let fly when it came to their advertisements. These ads will make you laugh (or maybe even cry) because of their absurdity. Today, ads such as this would get excoriated on Twitter and other social media sites. But, decades ago, no one batted an eye. 

Company: Brillo
Year Released: 1969

Men have muscles, and women have sponges. This ad for Brillo played on the slang of the term “Man,” advertising a Brillo sponge that had muscle, unlike women. These sponges came with metal fiber and soap, two things women also don’t have.

Man...That Took Muscle @cjsdisney4/Pinterest Man…That Took Muscle @cjsdisney4/Pinterest

Actor Arnold Stang was the spokesman for this Brillo sponge, uttering the tagline, “Woman…that took Brillo!” The American comic actor was born in 1918, and he was in a ton of different commercials and ads, including, mostly famously, for Chunky Candy Bars. In those commercials, he got to utter his famous line, “Chunky, what a Chunka Chocolate!” 

Company: 7-Up
Year Released: 1955 

Nowadays, putting soda in your baby’s bottle gets you glared at in the supermarket. But, in the fifties, people were just living life. World War II was over, and it was time to party. Even eleven-month-olds got in on the fun, as they got to drink 7-Up.

Youngest Customers in the Business ©Retro AdArchives/alamy Youngest Customers in the Business ©Retro AdArchives/alamy

“Nothing does it like Seven-Up” was the tagline for this 1955 ad, which we’re sure 7-Up wants to forget didn’t happen. It boasted that the soda company has the “youngest customers in the business,” which, we assume, refers to the business of drinking straight-up carbonated sugar. 7-Up is still around, and it has a brand value of $1.7 billion, so people have forgiven this faux pas, it seems.    

Company: Unknown
Year Released: 1950s 

This hilarious ad is from the 1950s (we estimate), and the nutrition advice is so wrong, it’s funny. The image shows a young boy eating an entire stick of “slippery butter,” which will “lubricate” his arteries and veins, as long as he chows down on as “much as possible.”

Butter is Slippery @andybeedesigns/Pinterest Butter is Slippery @andybeedesigns/Pinterest

While some still believe that butter is a big diet no-no, it’s perfectly fine when consumed as part of a balanced diet. However, according to Healthline, you should only eat one or two tablespoons a day, maximum, not multiple sticks like this kid.


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