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Sexist and offensive vintage ads that would never fly today, 1940-1980


Advertising has become an integral part of our socio-economic life and has been carefully crafted to speak to the hearts and minds of consumers. It taps into our psyche, hopes, dreams, goals, and fears.

In this article, we will turn the pages of history and look at some of the offensive or false print advertisements of brands that tried to sell their products by promoting male stereotypes, sexism and creating a sense of insecurity among women .

Vintage ads are a reflection of the past, reflecting the values ​​of that time period. Early print ads were a lot more explicit, some of them so downright offensive that it's hard to believe they actually went live. Imagine what would be the reaction if any of these ads were put up today?


However, with regard to sexist messages, Mad Men-style advertising men knew what they were doing and they understood that sex sells, and so did controversy.

As long as ads have done their job and moved products, companies will continue to push boundaries as far as they can. Even then people complained. But some strongly worded letters sent to the company through postal mail can easily be overlooked.

Even modern-day advertisements tend to objectify women, but that's no way companies can be a few decades away. In some commercials, men grope their wives, trample on them and blow smoke in their faces.

Major brands such as Kellogg's featured sexist slogans, such as "The Harder a Wife Works, the Cuter She Looks." Volkswagen's ad boasts of the firm's hard-wear cars, starting with the simple: "Women are soft and supple, but they hit things".

Other companies promoted pseudoscience that we now know to be complete nonsense. 7-Up tells moms to add soda to their babies' milk. Camel cigarettes were marketed as "the doctor's favorite brand".



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