Category Archives: Vintage Advertising

Bad Food Photos = Great Entertainment

I know it’s strange but I love collecting really bad food photos.  Whether a result of a truly bad recipe, bad food styling or better yet, BOTH,  I’m amazed that ad people back then allowed this stuff to make it to print.  Knowing that it’s almost a science now with Food Testers, Stylists and Photographers being paid top dollar for magazine features and ads, it’s nice to know that once upon a time, people really just didn’t care…

Anything with ‘aspic’ should usually raise red flags




It’s like raw meat surrounded by little bunches o’ brains



Having mastered Peas, Del Monte then offers up this tempting creamed Corn concoction

Del Monte Corn


It’s amazing how creepy spaghetti can look in the wrong hands



I love the tagline, “Some things can be copied and some things can’t.”  Well, thank God for that!

Miracle Whip

Run, kids! Mom's made the Haystack!


The Frankfurter-Kraut Crown — the perfect holiday centerpiece!

Frankfurter crown2


A very rare way of serving “Pork with Spaghetti” or as I call it, “Hairy Pork” : P

Pork with spaghetti


Saved the BEST for last! 

Lime Walnut Salad — lime gelatin, celery, pimiento, pineapple and cottage cheese.  Truly. Award. Winning.

Lime Walnut Salad

A lesser-known Weapon of Mass Destruction


Stay tuned for Part 2 someday soon… I have a huge collection : O


Gitanes Cigarette Ads are beautiful

I don’t smoke, but I really enjoy going through vintage cigarette advertising.  A genre in itself, tobacco ads encompassed all design styles and ranged in subject matter from the scientific to the fashionable and iconic, and even to the bizarre…

Strange "Don't smoke & drive" (?) Russian Ad

Strange "Don't smoke & drive" (?) Russian Ad


But I love love classic French cigarette brand Gitanes‘ vintage ads.  The modern (now considered retro-modern) designs and bright, bold colors are just lovely.  And despite the eye-catching designs, the ads are very subtle – there are no cigarette health facts or hard-sell headlines.  Just simple, beautiful designs featuring a gypsy lady.  Here are some examples:


Gitanes Tabaco











Vintage ads by mad men

I wonder how I could have possibly suspected that the following ads were conceptualized, written and produced by a bunch of men in a 1960s HBO’s Mad Men-style office:


Every man dreams of being married to a peppy wife…

"This peppy wife just poured a box of arsenic in your coffee, dear"

"I worked hard procuring arsenic for your coffee, dear"


Cute “men are better than women” ad…

Taken a few seconds before Angela stabs both men with the climbing pick...

Taken a few seconds before Angela stabbed both men with the climbing pick...


The just-about-to-be-divorced man’s guide to buying presents for the wife…

I think this ad made me grit my teeth down to stumps...

I think this ad made me grit my teeth down to stumps...


Great Hannibal Lecter type imagery for an ad selling synthetic pants…

Leggs slacks ad

Linda bided her time, waiting for the perfect moment to throw a match down Bob's dapper yet highly flammable DACRON pants...


Adorable ad about female drivers…

"Officer, I'm so dumb that I mistook my husband for a speed bump and ran right over him"

"Officer, I'm so dumb that I mistook my husband for a speed bump and ran right over him"

Dating Yourself – The Typewriter

I saw this vintage ad the other day and I unexpectedly got a little thrill.  Seeing this simple typewriter made me remember the day my parents gave me my dad’s old portable typewriter to keep as my very own.   I was 9 years old and it’s funny but at that age, getting my own typewriter made me feel like a teenager borrowing the car for the first time.  And then I realized… most kids today probably have NO idea what this contraption is.  They will never know the sound of a typewriter in action, or how important liquid paper or correcting tape used to be, or how one used to crumple up sheets and sheets of paper because we couldn’t edit before ‘printing’.  Talk about dating myself! 



 Remember Mr. Nooni-nooni-noo from Sesame Street?  My kids were watching snippets from our ‘Old School Sesame Street’ DVD and my 7 year old son asked me, “Mom, is that a big old telephone on wheels?”   Me:  “No, that’s a typewriter.”  My son:  “A what?”   Eep.

My kids do not know what this is : (

My kids do not know what this is : (


So I guess anyone who remembers the typewriter can now be relegated to that category we used to place our parents and their “I remember when coca-cola used to cost 20 centavos…” stories.  Sigh.  Oh well, viva vintage and all that.  Let’s celebrate the typewriter!


Here’s a cute vintage ad (1954) for the perfect portable typewriter for students…

You can even match your typewriter!

Gals & guys, from nerds to hep cats, could even match their typewriters.


IBM was always on the cutting edge…

When laptops were still a pipe dream...

When laptops were still a pipe dream...


Clunky yet cute and pink — what every young girl would have loved…

vintage pink typewriter

Barbie's typewriter


Guide to proper typewriting posture (still applicable today)…

Listen to Stella Pajunas, people!

Listen to Stella Pajunas, people!


Guide to improper posture (still applicable today)…

Voluptua LeBeaux shows how bad posture can affect long-term typing...

Well... I could see how this would hurt

Vintage ‘gay’ ads

Remember when the word ‘gay’ meant happy?  I do, because as a child I had books and heard songs about “happy and gay” straight people.  I’m sure today’s younger genearation is only aware of the homosexual connotation, which is totally fine… but they would probably find the following ads a tad bit puzzling:

I had no idea becoming gay was as easy as taking Ovaltine!

Just take Ovaltine at bedtime and wake up... gay

....or taking Midol!

Midol takes away periodic pain and makes you gay. Not bad!

Gee, you really didn't have to...

Gee, you really didn't have to...


I want a gay home. I really do.

Gay Johnny looks a little sad today...

Gay Johnny looks a little sad today...

He should ditch Texas and go on a Gay cruise.

He should ditch Texas and go on a Gay cruise.

Totally adorable potential Pride parade souvenirs

Totally adorable potential Pride parade souvenirs

Now these following ads don’t have the word ‘gay’ in them, but I think they were targeting the demographic. 

It's so much fun being in the army!

It's so much fun being in the army!

The short lived "buddy" of Ken, Allan

I guess Barbie got rid of him -- Allan, the erstwhile "buddy" of Ken.

         Disclaimer(as of June 2010):  Turns out the ad below is a parody of an original vintage ad by Jantzen.  Sorry!

My favorite ad - you just have to do a double-take.  Lure him away from the poolboy?!

My favorite ad - you just have to do a double-take. Lure him away from the poolboy?! Peek-a-boo trunks?!

For more vintage gay ads, click HERE

Where did Clairol Herbal Essence go?



I loved the long-haired ‘nature lady’ who used to grace the label of this shampoo.  She used to bathe in a forest and birds and butterflies would happily hover over her.  Clairol Herbal Essence came in a cool bottle, was a beautiful deep aloe green and most importantly, smelled so herbal essence good.  I found an old ad (above) and was surprised to also find an on-line petition demanding the return of Herbal Essence.  I wonder if the “Gee Your Hair Smells Teriffic” fans have the same passion.  These ’70s women are loyal! 

Speaking of Gee Your Hair Smells Teriffic, here’s something from the “You learn something new every day” department:  Did you know that after Jergens stopped making the popular shampoo in the US, that the only place it was available in the entire world was the Philippines?  According to this site:

By the mid-1980’s the products disappeared from [US] store shelves.  Jergens had discontinued manufacturing the product.  After that, the only place in the world where the items were still available was in the Philippines!  Jergens had licensed the product to a manufacturer in the Philippines, and up until today the product has remained available for purchase there!

Well… lucky us! 

Great pick-up line

"Gee, you look like my mom"

A belated Father’s Day post


“Dad, I still remember it like it was yesterday.  You in your sky-blue briefs helping me into my white party dress…”

Maybe you have to be French, and maybe I grew up in a conservative family but am I glad I don’t have a photo of this “daddy & me” moment.  

But this ad did remind me that I do have a lot of great memories of my dad, much like my kids, who are now making their own special memories with their dad.  Simple activities like making pancakes on Saturday mornings, watching old movies over pizza, and taking long bike rides with him are moments children keep in their hearts forever.  So to all the great dads out there, whether they like to walk around in underwear or not…  belated Happy Father’s Day !