30+ Vintage Adverts That Would Be Banned Today

By molly atherton 4 months ago
Step into a time machine and prepare to be whisked away to when advertising was a wild frontier. Strap in for a rollercoaster down memory lane, where "banned" was a term yet to be coined, and advertising was unfiltered.

More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette

Not only does this shocking advert promote smoking by doctors, but it's also revealing the favourite brand they'd recommend.Image Source / Canvas Art RocksBack then, smoking was advertised more heartily than it is today, but it's still surprising to think doctors were revealed as the driving force behind this ad... Original content sourced from Femanin.com

You Mean A Woman Can Open It?

Shocking, I know, but yes women can actually open things, too. Don't let that affect anyone's notion of their own strength and masculinity,Image Source / Canvas Art Rocksthough. To make it worse, this ad looks like it's promoting an easy screw-off top, too... Come on guys, we're perfectly capable of screw tops.

Blow In Her Face And She'll Follow You Anywhere

Because of course, this is what every woman looks for in a partner. There's something very attractive about having a whole load ofImage Source / Canvas Art Rockscigarette smoke being blown directly in your face. Extra points for the fact she's managing to keep her eyes open and not cough.

Because Innocence Is Sexier Than You Think

Of course, in days gone by, this idea of 'innocence' and 'purity' was a quality men looked for in women. But this ad takes that to a dark placeImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksbecause it's not about women... it's about children. They've basically gone into the child beauty pageant realm to market deodorant by sexualising a child.

For A Better Start In Life Start Cola Earlier!

Because there's nothing like ruining your baby's teeth with sugar before they've even grown any. The ad asks 'how soon is too soon?'Image Source / Canvas Art RocksWell the answer would be way too soon if you're thinking of making your baby drink Coca-Cola. To make it worse, the ad even says 'Promotes Active Lifestyle'...

Show Her It's A Man's World

Just in case every woman hasn't already had this drummed into them, this Van Heusen advert makes it very clear. It's a man's world,Image Source / Canvas Art Rockstherefore any sensible woman would fall to her knees and serve you breakfast in bed if you're fully dressed in a shirt and tie under the sheets.

Begin Early, Shave Yourself

Don't worry, this baby is perfectly safe shaving their four-day stubble because it's a safety razor, so there's nothing to worry about.Image Source / Canvas Art RocksAnd alongside drinking Cola, there's nothing like letting your baby build their independence early by shaving their own face.

Flip 'N Style Hair Dryer - Even If You Can't Use It It's Fun To Have

Erm. Well. It's nice that everyone is being represented, including those with alopecia or maybe even voluntarily bald, but I'm strugglingImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksto imagine why simply having this hairdryer would be 'fun'. What are you supposed to do with it? Dry your clothes?

Nothing Does It Like Seven-Up!

Just in case your newborn isn't a fan of Cola, why not try 7-Up instead? Just as much sugar, probably, so why not. The ad actually goesImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksinto detail about why they have 'the youngest customers in the business - but there's young, and then there's that young...

So The Harder A Wife Works, The Cuter She Looks!

Because this is what every woman wants - to do chores, but look cute while she's doing it, of course. This advert for Kellogg's 'pep' vitaminsImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksmeans that now you don't have to burden your husband with the knowledge that doing housework all day is actually tiring! Thank goodness.

Isn't It Time You Gave Yourself A Christmas Gift?

The headline of this is innocent enough - everyone deserves to treat themselves with a Christmas gift, after all - but a gun wasImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksprobably the last gift on your mind. If on your mind at all. At least it's helpful if you're really struggling with Christmas ideas this year...

Born Gentle

You could be forgiven for thinking this was an advert for a bar of soap at first glance, but nope, it's a pack of cigarettes. Because what betterImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksadvertises cigarettes than an illustration of a woman and her baby? I think the message is that a pack of Philip Morris cigarettes should be held with pride.

World's Largest Lemons

Yep, that probably got your attention, which is exactly why they did it, of course. Which I suppose could be considered a successful ad campaignImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksif it's done its job... You might be confused what it's actually advertising though - apparently it's a Quick Way Bar Mix. Including lemons, of course. The big kind.

Beer Will Change The World

Yes maybe it will, but not necessarily for the better. This advert even admits 'I don't know how, but it will'. Nice campaign tagline there.Image Source / Canvas Art RocksYou don't need to know how it works, you just need to buy and drink lots of beer for the greater good. You can't complain about that, can you?

Why Doesn't Your Mamma Wash You With Fairy Soap?

'Shocking' doesn't even cover it for this advert. Apparently this Fairy soap is so strong it can actually change your skin colour,Image Source / Canvas Art Rocksif that's something that should happen - and according to this ad, it definitely should. Yikes. As though being dark skinned means needing a wash!

We'll Have Lots To Smoke This Winter, Won't We Mother?

No, it's not cigarettes this time, surprisingly, but that doesn't make it any better - this one is all about 'grow your own, smoke your own'Image Source / Canvas Art Rockswhich is apparently a happy family weekend activity if this ad is anything to go by. Bond with your parents over weed, because why not.

If Your Husband Ever Finds Out...

You'll get hit, apparently. If you aren't making the effort as a good lady wife to 'store-test for fresher coffee' whilst running errandsImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksand doing all the chores for your husband, he's going to be mighty upset - and he'll let you know it, too... In a physical and definitely-not-appropriate way.

Just 1 Minute, Young Lady!

It's already an irritating stereotype that women are obsessed with their hair, but this ad just takes it to a whole new level. Yep, apparently womenImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksget so frustrated with their hair that they're willing to down a bottle of poison or take a bullet to end such a travesty. But don't worry ladies, Charles Antell is here.

Makes Children And Adults As Fat As Pigs

We've probably all said we feel like a pig at some point in our life, but this ad takes that to a whole new, disturbing level - even just basedImage Source / Canvas Art Rockson the illustration alone. I don't even know what this is supposed to be advertising - a chill tonic, but why would it make you as fat as a pig?

Keep Her Where She Belongs...

We all know this is sexist, but it's not even clear where 'it' is where she belongs. Does she belong on the floor, admiring your shoe?Image Source / Canvas Art RocksNo doubt she's expected to clean the shoe, too. Where else does she belong, in the kitchen? In the bedroom? The insulting possibilities are endless.

It's Nice To Have A Girl Around The House

Oh, that's nice to - oh. Okay. It's nice to have a girl around the house... as long as she's on the floor where she belongs, ready to have you walkImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksall over her because of the power of your new 'Leggs' trousers that can apparently tame any woman into submission. Great.

Christmas Morning She'll Be Happier With A Hoover

Of course - what every little girl wrote on their 'Dear Santa' wishlist every Christmas and grew up to have their dreams come true:Image Source / Canvas Art Rocksa brand new sparkly hoover for Christmas morning. Perfect for cleaning up after a day of cooking for the family. A gift that's practical and well-received.

Syphilis: All These Men Have It

Ah, finally, an advert that's actually trying to help women rather than offend them. An advert whose message is simple: women, you can't go to dance hallsImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksand have a good time, because all these men have syphilis and apparently that's your problem and doesn't mean they should change their plans.

Budweiser: For When You Need to Get Her Drunk

Yes, because she's going to need to be drunk to even look twice at the kind of person who would be inspired by this advert. The King of Beers,Image Source / Canvas Art Rockshere advertised as tasting amazing, the perfect springtime drink - and the perfect way to convince women that you're worth their time.

The Pig Slicer

If you weren't a vegetarian before seeing this, you might be now. This ad for a pig slicer is all about eating for pleasure in the easiest wayImage Source / Canvas Art Rockspossible - and just in case that wasn't clear, here's a very graphic illustration to prove the point. Just in case you didn't know it was pig you're eating.

Don't Worry Darling, You Didn't Burn The Beer

Oh, how sweet that this husband is making his wife feel better after slaving over the stove and burning the meal. But it's okay, darling,Image Source / Canvas Art Rocksbecause you didn't burn the beer - which I obviously need to get you drunk, based on all the other adverts out during this time.

We Wrapped These Twins In Cellophane

Wait, what? Move over The Shining twins, these come freshly wrapped in cellophane to keep them fresh. I don't know what's more worryingImage Source / Canvas Art Rocks- the fact that this was a legitimate idea, or the tagline 'and if they could talk'... Creepy doesn't cut it. The Shining twins come to mind, too...

Butter Is Slippery

'Butter is slippery' - so far so good, this seems to be accurate information. But that's when it gets weird. Butter is so slippery, in fact,Image Source / Canvas Art Rocksit's good for lubricating your arteries and veins? Yeah, if you're looking for a product for shortening your life-span, if that's the angle they're going for.

Santa Claus And His Lucky Strikes

I mean.. trying to deliver that many presents to that many people in one night has gotta be tough. You can't blame Santa Claus forImage Source / Canvas Art Rockstaking a moment to light up and relive some stress. And apparently, if you're looking for a reason to start smoking, Father Christmas is whose approval you need.

Maybe You'd Better Light Up A Marlboro, Mommy

If there's anyone to convince you to continue your smoking habit, it's your own baby. Who apparently knows what Marlboro is,Image Source / Canvas Art Rocksand actively encourages the habit. Anything to get out of getting in trouble, apparently... That's one intelligent baby.

Most Men Ask 'Is She Pretty?' Not 'Is She Clever?'

Because of course they do - asking the big, important questions, of course. This ad is for Palmolive soap, which of course every womanImage Source / Bored Pandashould prioritise over, you know... getting a degree or practicing their times table. As long as you're clean, that's all that matters.

Chlorinol Soda Bleaching - For Skin Colour

This one's extremely uncomfortable to even look out. Because apparently Chlorinol Soda Bleaching is so powerful it can change your skinImage Source / Bored Pandacolour from black to white - not to mention the fact that apparently turning yourself white is encouraged if this ad is anything to go by.

Cocaine Toothache Drops

We all know how painful and uncomfortable tooth ache can be - but instead of instantly popping a pain killer, why not try cocaine toothache dropsImage Source / Bored Pandainstead? Yep, this ad is literally for the sale of cocaine - and apparently 'for sale by all Druggists', too. As an actual solution to a problem.

That's What Wives Are For!

Oh yay, another sexist vintage ad! Not only is the Kenwood Chef the perfect gift for a woman who most definitely wouldn't want any giftImage Source / Bored Pandathat isn't related to household chores, it's also the perfect gift for keeping her in her place so that she still has the burden of cooking despite it.

Men Are Better Than Women!

There's nothing like an ad that gets straight to the point, and you can't fault this one for its clear message. 'Indoors, women are usefulImage Source / Bored Panda- even pleasant' - of course they are. But when you're outdoors, what's the last thing you want to be bothered by? A woman, of course!

Merry Christmas For Every Smoker

If you're lucky enough to be on the Nice List, then Santa has a nice, healthy gift for you. A huge pack of Camel cigarettes! It's the perfect ChristmasImage Source / Bored Pandagift for every smoker - and to be fair, of course a nice pack of cigarettes is a practical gift for any smokers, but it's surprising to see it being allowed.

Is It Always Illegal To Kill A Woman?

This ad is asking the big questions here, of course, and I'm sure many men have pondered the same thing when their wives have burnedImage Source / Bored Pandathe roast. But apparently debating murdering a woman is perfectly acceptable when an office postage meter comes into play if she has the audacity.

The More You Play With It, The Harder It Gets

It's good to see that sexual innuendos haven't gone out of fashion, and started out in good spirit with this Sega ad for a joystick. Yep, you read that rightImage Source / Bored Panda- as well as the ad unflinchingly saying 'pulling and squeezing your k**b'. They seem to have their target demographic down to a T, anyway...

Something To Do With Your Hands That Won't Make You Go Blind

And this one has helpful illustrations, too! And because apparently, at the time of this ad, doing that during your downtime makes youImage Source / Bored Pandago blind. Which would be a damn shame if it meant you couldn't see this ad for the Sega games console - bringing a different meaning to hand-held.

Vital Statistics

Not only is this an insultingly obvious ploy just to catch anyone's attention, it's also implying that the most important thing this womanImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksis offering is her vital statistics - just like Sherpa! You can be forgiven for being confused what it is they're even advertising - but it looks like vehicles.

4 Out Of 5 Men Want Oxfords

That's right, 4 out of 5 men want Oxfords - and why doesn't the 5th, you might ask? Well apparently that's because, according to this racist adImage Source / Canvas Art Rockshe's quite different from your everyday professional working class man. So his opinion doesn't matter, apparently - because why would it?

Jeans That Turn A Dude Into A Stud

I mean, decide for yourself - do these guys now look like studs to you, because of their jeans? And apparently the only differenceImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksbetween a man you wouldn't be interested in and a man you would be is the amount of flare on his jeans. Which means that awkward moment of having to check.

If You Think This Gun Looks Great, Wait'll You Hear It

There's nothing too shocking about toy guns in this day and age - water pistols, toy pistols... they do exist, and they're innocent toys,Image Source / Canvas Art Rocksbut this advert goes the whole hog with the most realistic, dangerous look rifle that even sounds like the real deal - just in case you want that for your kids.

Screw Battle We're Gettin' Drunk

There's nothing like seeing a happy soldier holding up a crate of beer and ignoring the battle carnage going on around him.Image Source / Canvas Art RocksYou can't blame him for wanting to ignore his responsibilities and enjoy a cold one, but this advert isn't really sending the right message.

Sometimes Ya Gotta Cheat

Of course, men are just innocent here - who could resist cheating when your wife looks like that, right? And this ad not only makes you knowImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksthat it's okay, but gives you the 'code breaker' tools how to do it, too. Cheating made easy! The perfect gift for any man of this era, of course...

It's Easy To Dye

There's nothing wrong with an advert for dying made easy, but the problem lies more with what she's dying. A bit of a mess here, a doll there...Image Source / Canvas Art Rocksand oh wait, the family cat. I gotta say, I'm with the mother on this one. And it's only woman that would be 'stupid' enough to do this, of course.

Spread Your Legs

Because what else would you want a back seat for? Never fear with this advert for the Pontiac Star Chief with maximum leg-room in the back,Image Source / Canvas Art Rockswhat every woman wants. Perfect for impressing the ladies whilst wearing fancy suits! And plenty of room for... you know. Whatever else.

Coca-Cola: The Ideal Brain Tonic

This advert would seem innocuous for anything else - maybe a helpful pain killer, medication or a herbal tonic that can relive your headachesImage Source / Canvas Art Rocksand mental fatigue. But no - apparently it's high-in-sugar fizzy drink Coca-Cola that's being advertised with lots of health benefits!

Did You Ever See A Fat Chinese?

This public service announcement reveals all the health benefits of rice - by showcasing that Chinese people are always slim and in shape!Image Source / Canvas Art RocksThe perfect advertising campaign. So get on down to your local store and stock up on the food Chinese people enjoy.

Men Love Fannies

An advert for womenswear that's once again tailored for what men think, want and need. You should buy this underwear because men wouldImage Source / Canvas Art Rockslike you to, and because your waist would be shaped into exactly what men want. So what other reason do you need really? Go for it!

Fagged Out?

The term 'fag' or 'fagged' on an ad would definitely be banned today, and it's worse when it's the sexist angle once again of the womanImage Source / Can You Actuallymust definitely be tired and worn out because of all the cooking and cleaning, naturally. But apparently all it takes it Orange Crush to feel yourself again!

Keep Up With The House While You Keep Your Weight Down

The tagline of this ad speaks for itself in why it'd be banned today. It's important for a woman to be at her optimum weight while sheImage Source / Can You Actuallycleans the windows - especially if anyone can see through and notice a less-than-slim waistline, god forbid!

Women Don't Leave The Kitchen!

Oh, of course - women can only stare longingly through the window at their family having a great time outside. The ad goes on to sayImage Source / Can You Actually'we all know a woman's place is in the home' and you probably stopped reading after that if you're anything like me.

Do You Still Beat Your Wife?

Oh dear - did she decide to leave the house when she should be in the kitchen? This ad is bad enough with just the discussion ofImage Source / Can You Actuallybeating your wife, but the implicated of 'still' as though it's a given you've done it at some point. The ad then goes on to promote a must-read booklet.

Loose Women May Also Be Loaded With Disease

Ah, of course - after the many ads we've seen about why men should cheat, tips how to cheat and how men can live their best free lives,Image Source / Can You Actuallywhen it's women it's labelled 'loose' and also the risk of being riddled with disease. So once again, women are the problem, not the men choosing to seek them out.

Elliot's White Veneer

Another shocking example of vintage racist ads, here with Elliot's White Veneer paint being so effective that it can even paint over the skinImage Source / Can You Actuallyof a black person to make them white. If that's what you need out of paint rather than to give the bathroom a once over.

Now She Can Cook Breakfast Again

The tagline of this is insulting enough, but it's actually more disturbing when you read the description. Mornidine is a treatment to tackle morning sicknessImage Source / Can You Actuallywhich comes from pregnancy - which means this ad's focus is putting a woman back to work in the kitchen even though she's pregnant.

No Tired Fagged-Out Feeling Now

'Fagged-out' was apparently a very popular phrase for these vintage ads, but this ad is also showing tonic wine as a cure for tiredness and fatigue.Image Source / Can You ActuallyIt'd be impossible these days to market a tonic wine as something positive that can help with your lifestyle choices and have you reaping health benefits!

DDT Is Good For Me!

DDT is an insecticide used in agriculture, and you may already know that it was completely banned back in 1972 for its risks. It was banned in the US,Image Source / Can You Actuallybut some countries outside of the US do still use DDT. But this advert singing about all the great DDT benefits definitely wouldn't fly today.

The Other You Could End Your Marriage!

Oh, finally an ad pointing out that a man leading a double life and cheating could have bad consequences - oh no, wait, it's about everything a womanImage Source / Can You Actuallyis doing wrong again. The 'other you' apparently means a woman who's not taking enough care of her feminine hygiene, which her husband shouldn't have to put up with.