Bizarre and terrible food ads that would probably never run today, 1940s-1960s

Advertising has always been an interesting way to explore how modern society has evolved. Basically, marketing campaigns are based on what people want and like. When you assess human history based on old advertisements, the past will start to look more strange than you might think.

These photos of quirky vintage food ads are mostly from the 1950s and 1960s and would probably be considered distasteful if published in this generation. In a way, advertisements also reflect changing food tastes, diet and dietary habits.

The 1950s and 1960s were a decade in which most American women did not work outside the home. Most families had only one car, fast food was not nearly as ubiquitous as it is today, and married women were called housewives and/or housewives.

For many families, eating out was usually reserved for special occasions. The commercials tried to hit that niche.

Many food ads were targeted at women, who were the main buyers of food in the household. Since children are recognized as important motivators in that process and as they may accompany their mothers to buy family meals, advertisements are targeted at them as well.

Newspapers and magazines have long been an important medium of advertising. In the United States in the 1930s–1940s, some 20 percent of products advertised in major print advertising media for women's and household magazines were for food and beverage products.

In the early 20th century, psychologists Walter D. Scott and John B. Watson contributed applied psychological theory to the field of advertising.

Scott said, "Man has been called a reasoning animal, but he may be more truthfully called a suggestive creature. He is reasonable, but he is largely suggestive".

He demonstrated this through his advertising technique of direct ordering to the consumer. Former President of Johns Hopkins University, John B. Watson was a highly recognized psychologist in the 1920s.

After leaving the field of education, he turned his attention to advertising where he applied the concepts of behaviorism to advertising. It focused on capturing the basic emotions of the consumer: love, hate, and fear.

This type of advertising proved to be extremely effective as it adapted to the changing social context, which had a huge impact on future advertising strategies and cemented the place of psychology in advertising.

Post War Advertising

In the prosperous post-war era, millions of Americans moved into new housing, especially in the rapidly growing suburbs. They spent heavily on housing, equipment, furniture, clothing and automobiles.

With the advent of television in the 1950s, the field of advertising expanded dramatically. With most families having automobiles, and more leisure time, travel holidays became much more common, and the motel and tourism industries eagerly supported mass advertising.

In the field of public service, the Advertising Council aggressively promoted Americanism as a Cold War strategy, with campaigns such as Freedom Train, Crusade for Freedom, Religion in American Life, Adams for Peace and People's Capitalism.

The New Brand Names Foundation sponsors conferences, local campaigns and educational events, as well as free enterprise, to promote brand loyalty.

Popular author Vance Packard in The Hidden Persuaders (1957) highlights the use of consumer motivational research and other psychological techniques, including deep psychology and unconscious strategies.

From the 1920s they were used to manipulate expectations and induce a desire for products, but came as a surprise to popular audiences.

They identified eight "compelling needs" that advertisers promise the products will meet. According to Packard, these needs are so strong that people are compelled to buy products to satisfy them. The book questions the ethics of using these techniques.

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