Society’s way of thinking has certainly changed a lot over the last 100 years, over the years we’ve learnt to embrace difference. However, this was not always the case. Here are ten vintage ads that demonstrate just how much things have really changed.
1. 'Cocaine Toothache Drops'
Some of the drugs that are illegal today were once used in various everyday products. Cocaine for example used to be used as a type of anaesthetic and not just by certified doctors, but by the ordinary person. Sold over the counter in the United States until 1914, this white powder was found in both adult and children’s products. Given what we now know about this substance, it’s quite clear that today this ad wouldn’t be looked upon too favourably, and if any company sold such a product they would likely see themselves shut down in an instant.
2. 'Dont Worry Darling, You Didn't Burn The Beer'
This ad was released in the same era depicted by the hit show Mad Me. Women’s rights have clearly come a long way since that time, and this is just one of the many ads which prove that. This company’s other major slogan was ’When you’re out of Schlitz, you’re out of beer!’
3. 'It's Nice To Have a Girl Around The House'
Another ad released around the Mad Men era. Though society may still tend to objectify women, it’s doubtful this Mr Leggs dress pants ad that so blatantly disrespects women would fly in the 21st century.
4. 'African Boy'
This ad is clearly from a time when African American rights were not yet recognised.
One of the funnier ads; most companies today tend to be more discreet and cheeky when it comes to putting sexual innuendos in any of their advertising. It seems Sega wanted to make sure you didn’t miss the comparison they were trying to make.
6. Alcoa - Del Monte Ketchup
It seemed like Del Monte had a good thing going when they recognised how hard bottles and jars can be to open and created this easy-to-open ketchup bottle. This ad discriminating women however loses them serious points.
7. Pears Soap
Clearly the racial discrimination in this Pears Soap ad wouldn’t be approved by today’s standards.
8. Iver Johnson Revolvers
Telling people to hand their young, untrained children real guns, is definitely not something that would get the thumbs up today. It’s also doubtful stating these weapons are ’accidental discharge impossible’ would make it any better.
9. 'Kids Need The Energy Candy Gives'
This 1950s ad really shows how society’s attitude has changed towards candy. It wasn’t viewed as the unhealthy, teeth-rotting snack it’s said to be today, but rather as a treat that was basically as good for you as kale.
10. Chocolate, Nougat, Nuts
Another ad standing testament to the fact society once believed in the nutritional value of candy. No need for a protein-enriched meal or drink, just throw down a Mars Bar instead and you’ll grow big and strong.
See Also: Top 5 Most Controversial Job Ads
One of the major things that all these advertisements show us is just how much our world can change.