Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Changing Winds of Advertising

Thought for the day:  Let advertisers spend the same amount of money improving their product that they do on advertising and they wouldn't have to advertise.  [Will Rogers]

Do you remember when cigarettes were touted as being good for us? Yep, according to the ads of years past, they'd freshen our breath, relax us, and by golly, a pretty woman would do just about anything for a man who blew smoke in her face.

Advertising is legalized lying. [H.G. Wells]

Ah, but that was a different time. Those were the days when leggy packs of cigarettes pranced and danced across our TV screens, usually accompanied by a catchy jingle or slogan. (I remember quite a few; how about you?) Even cartoon characters were used to sell us on the pleasures of smoking.

Advertising reflects the mores of society, but it does not influence them.  [David Ogilvy]

Hard to believe, but it wasn't until 1965 that the U.S. Surgeon General proclaimed smoking hazardous to our health. Not hazardous enough for the military to stop dropping packs of cigarettes to our soldiers in Vietnam,  mind you, but hazardous enough for cigarette advertising on TV to be eventually outlawed.

Like Ogilvy said, ads do reflect mores and attitudes of society. And to paraphrase the old Virginia Slim slogan, We've come a long way, baby. My brother sent me a terrific collection of old ads that aren't even close to being politically correct by today's standards. Care to take a gander at some of them? (We'll save the others for another time.)
































Okay, let's take a commercial break right here. Time to check out this video of old '50s and '60s coffee commercials. Men may miss the good old days, when they were the undisputed kings of their castles, but I don't think too many of us little women will experience twinges of happy nostalgia at the sentiments expressed here...
































So which of these old ads is your favorite?





Now, a more recent one to smell judge today's, um, winds of advertising. It'll blow you away. This spot was created by Canada's Ministry of Health about four months ago. Because of my keenly-developed and terribly sophisticated sense of humor, I think it's hilarious. Yep, I guess you could say it's a real... blast.


                                        Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

98 comments:

  1. Cigarettes are bad for you? Since when?

    I had 1972 in my head for the year they started telling us they were bad-I wonder if that was when they started banning TV ads.

    And I don't know that I'd let those old coffee ads get to you-look at what has happened since then-now men make their own coffee (or pay $5 a cup for Starbux)!

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    1. Yeah, who knew? Just because puffing on that FIRST cigarette can make ya cough until you practically puke doesn't mean a thing.

      I wasn't sure exactly when the TV advertising for tobacco ended, so I looked it up. Nixon signed the ban on April 1, 1970, and the last ad aired at 11:50 PM, January 1, 1971... during the Johnny Carson Show. (You can find just about ANYTHING through a few Google searches!)

      Oh, those old ads don't bother me. Yeah, they made women look like idiots in them, but today's ads make men look like weenies. And kids like insufferable brats. (But I still make my hubby's coffee...)

      Delete
  2. I'm an ex smoker Susan and I cannot believe some of these ads... wow..

    Even when I was a smoker, I never felt it was glamorous or good for me...

    I remember when it was socially acceptable and when my hometown decided no more smoking in restaurants/bars/hospitals and such. People didn't think it would last... luckily it's the norm now.

    I'm grateful to be a non smoker.

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    1. Good for you on being an ex-smoker. Me, too.

      Smoking was definitely portrayed as being glamorous once upon a time. I remember when it was the norm to see ruby-lipped actresses, wearing slinky dresses, jewels and furs, posing with a cigarette in a long sexy holder. Even actors and actresses who didn't smoke in real life "smoked" in their movies. My parents and all my aunts and uncles smoked. My mom even had one of those long sexy holders for a while.

      Delete
  3. Susan, thank you for this delight. As a social farter, I find it prudent to forgo smoking or anything else requiring an open flame at such parties, and have never killed the petunias with coffee. My conscience is fairly clear.

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  4. Dear old Ronnie has to be the favourite.... what WAS going through that head of his!

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    1. That was back in the days when all the actors smoked, and Ronnie was a still acting in B movies. (as in BAD) So he wasn't thinking anything.

      Delete
  5. Every time I watch old movies - especially from the 40's & 50's) I'm amazed at how extremely prevalent smoking and drinking were. They smoked and drank in nearly every scene.
    Smoking was supposedly so cool and sexy and sophisticated. I have a lot of those funny old ads on my Pinterest page.

    I've always hated cigarette smoke - - don't let my profile photo fool you. The cigarette dangling from my mouth isn't lit. Neither of my parents smoked and I'm greatful for that.

    Ironically, my cousin Steve died from lung cancer one week ago. He was a lifetime heavy smoker.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yeah, smoking and drinking were a prevalent and accepted part of society back then. Hard to believe anyone ever believed bad breath and brown teeth were sexy, though.

      You look so... natural... with that cigarette hanging outta your mouth. So it's just a prop. Verrrry interesting; I guess it's part of your image. (I hate to say it, but it fits!)

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  6. One more thing - - the soda pop ad with the baby is an Internet hoax. There's no such thing as the Soda Pop Board of America.
    For a long time I thought this ad was real, like everyone else.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh my goodness, NO! A hoax? On the Internet??? (How COULD they...?)

      I didn't buy that one, either. (Or believe it!) But it still amused me.

      Delete
  7. Chesterfields were touted as being good for you. My parents smoked (both ultimately quit) but I never did. I reasoned that if burning leaves in autumn made me feel sick burning tobacco leaves would probably do the same. I'm glad I thought that way. Social farting... I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.

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    1. Good for you! My parents... and all my aunts and uncles, too... smoked, and I hated how smoky the house got when they all lit up. Still, like an idiot, when I went away to college, I started smoking. Why? I have no idea. I was an idiot. Took me a lot of years to give 'em up, too.

      Glad ya liked that video, too. Nice to know I'm not the only one around here with a sophisticated sense of humor.

      Delete
  8. My mom used to give my dad a carton of cigarettes (Lucky Strikes or Camels) for Christmas every year. I guess they listened to Reagan then. I suppose the Chase and Sanborn ad offends me the most. Maybe that is the reason I don't like coffee.

    These ads show that some things are definitely better today.

    BTW, do you know where I can get a jar of those tapeworms? Gee, they are even sanitized. Gotta have some of those.

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    1. Cigarettes for Christmas. (That should be a song!) Isn't it funny how our thinking has changed? Back then, cigarettes seemed like a perfectly acceptable gift.

      YUK! I don't care HOW "sanitized" those tape worms were...

      Delete
  9. Gosh, I see ads today for mops and cleansers that still stereotype and they drive me crazy. Bad as they are, I guess they are nothing compared to these coffee commercials. Ugh!

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    1. It's hard to believe the way women were depicted in some of the old ads and TV shows, isn't it? Jeez.

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    2. Why are there no commercials with mops or swifter sweepers with men using the product? They say house wok being a woman job is sexist. But i haven't seen a commercial with men doing the cleaning.

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    3. I dunno, Todd. Maybe because most people... especially men... still think of housework as women's work. As ridiculous as old ads used to make women look, most of today's commercials don't do men any favors, either.

      Delete
  10. When I think about how growing up in the fifties influenced me and my psyche and my personality, I didn't think about the commercials. Yikes!

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    1. The advertising world didn't exactly go out of its way to portray women as strong equal partners, did it? Now the pendulum has swung, and men seem to be more often portrayed as the "lesser" half.

      Delete
  11. Speaking of advertising, check out my review of Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade on Amazon. I hope you like it.

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    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! It's a fabulous review! Yes ma'am, I love it. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

      Delete
  12. Wow way before my time
    But so not sublime
    Actual spanking one
    My what they gave a run
    Now it is just some famous idiot proclaiming it is good
    Usually they are as dumb as wood

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    1. The good old days showed ads
      That made women look inferior,
      While smoke-blowing dads
      Were shown to be superior.
      But that's no more the case...
      Yeah, ads still debase
      And ever the money chase;
      Women still show a pretty face,
      But now men look like a dumb posterior.

      Delete
  13. OMF! I couldn't help myself. OR rather, I did. Iposted that clip on my FB page. How funny!

    Those ads on the other hand! Tape worms? I always thought that was a myth.

    I'm off to make some bad coffee.
    Thanks for the laughs Susan!
    ~Just Jill

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    1. Clearly, my blog is where all the sophisticated humorists from far and near gather to laugh at potty humor. (Glad ya liked it!)

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  14. I remember all those old ads... If they would do those today can you imagine the flack they would get.

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    1. Today, people are so concerned with being "politically correct" the pendulum has swung a wee bit too far in the other direction.

      Delete
  15. OMG !
    You just have to love Canada. Social faring !
    I read this first thing this morning at 6am what a way to start the day.
    ummmmmmmm I remember many of the commercials/ads how old does that make me ?
    I remember my Father watching football or boxing (?) on TV when we lived in Chicago and I would listen for the Hamm's Beer commercial
    "From the land of sky blue water"
    a bear and a little duck would sing. The commercials where in black and white and right before they stopped they were in color. I can still sing the song.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Yeah, I agree. That Canadian ad is priceless.

      When we moved here from Maryland in '71, I brought some Hamm's beer decals from their "Land of Sky Blue Water" campaign with us, and they were stuck on my avocado range hood in the kitchen until we replaced it last year. (I really hated to see them go, too.) One was a crab, and the other was a clam. Really cute. I remember the troubadour singing in that commercial, but I don't think I remember the words to the song.

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  16. They're all priceless. The fact that I actually remember some of them is a little disturbing though.

    Santa must have taken a break from his pipe to pitch those Lucky Strikes.

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    1. Glad ya liked them. What can I say? We're getting old.

      Have you seen that anti-smoking "social farting" ad on TV? I wish our Surgeon General had a sense of humor like that.

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    2. I've never seen the ad before. I'm surprised I haven't, since the ads are run by the Ontario Ministry of Health. I'm not sure what kind of effect the ad will have on smoking, but it will likely not change the province's farting habits.

      Delete
  17. Hard to believe! THose old commercials and TV shows are like time capsuiles into our past culture.

    One thing commercials tell us is who bought products. I think women buy most stuff today if commercials are an indication. Today the helpless bumbliong idiots who can not exist without their powerful smart women are the stupid weak husbands. When is the last time a woman did not win an athletic contest in a commercial?...fun stuff!

    Oh, and Mary Tyler Moore got her start as a pair of dancing legs inside a pack of cigarettes.

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    1. Absolutely. I wonder if there's a college course being taught somewhere that analyzes societal changes through advertisements and/or televisions shows. It'd be pretty interesting.

      Yep, men are depicted as bumbling idiots in commercials, and kids as obnoxious brats. One of the WORST is the one where the inept doofus is showing his son how to throw a ball. Come ON! NOBODY throws like that. It's painful to watch.

      Huh! If that tidbit about Mary Tyler Moore is something I knew at one time, I forgot it. Interesting. (Not saying I won't forget it again...)

      Delete
  18. Ronald Reagan and the Christmas card cartons has to be the best one. LOL LOL. I never knew that the soft drink companies tried to push their drinks for babies! I guess I shouldn't be surprised but those ads with babies guzzling cola and 7Up shocked me.

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    1. When my father went on strike for months on end, the cost of cigarettes was a bit prohibitive, so my mother started rolling her own. Bless her heart, she even smoked the awful botched-up messes I made for her with her spiffy little cigarette-making machine. (Had to use a cigarette holder, though!) Bottom line is, I think she would have LOVED a carton of store-made cigs as a gift!

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    2. When my father's union went on strike for months on end, my mother started rolling her own cigarettes to save on cost. Bless her heart, she even smoked the awful-looking monstrosities I rolled for her with her nifty cigarette-rolling machine. Bottom line, I think she would have LOVED a carton of store-bought cigs as a present!

      Delete
  19. Just like Mad Men :)

    My wife told me that doctors prescribed cigarettes to her grandma to help with her nerves. It's funny how times change and advertising just keeps rolling along.

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    1. I believe it. When it came to female patients, some doctors attributed just about any symptom you can imagine to "bad nerves."

      Yep, the ads never seem to end. I reckon they must work!

      Delete
  20. I had no idea babies were used to this extent in commercials. I don't remember any of these, maybe they were before I came here, but I remember the Marlborough Man, I guess I thought he looked pretty cool on his horse with his Marlborough and all.

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    1. These commercials were mostly from the '50s, maybe even the '40s, so it may have been before you graced our shores with your presence.

      Oh yeah, the Marlboro man. What a hunk! Women wanted to meet him, and men wanted to BE him! Probably sold quite a few packs of Marlboro, too.

      Delete
    2. Doggone it, Blogger keeps making my replies disappear!

      Let's try it again... These commercials are from the '50s, and even from the '40s, so they may have been around before you graced our shores with your presence.

      Yep, the Marlboro man was a hunk. Women wanted to know him, and men wanted to BE him. Those ads probably sold a lot of cigarettes, too.

      Delete
  21. I have to kind of marvel that any of these ads worked! The one with the ketchup bottle and "a woman can open it?" Yikes! I wouldn't have bought it just because of the ad :) I find these all totally fascinating though, and my inner anthropologist totally digs them!

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    1. I know what ya mean, but women were treated differently in the '50s, and very few had the gumption to stand up and fight against the way they were portrayed.

      Cool, I'm glad you liked the ads. More to come...

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  22. wow. just wow. and you'd think advertising would improve. but no. they're still making crap like this: http://bit.ly/15wrddG.

    you left a comment on a picky post (things my brother gives me). i'm sure that would've been his second choice for a caption. but he's too much like his father to let the kitchen thing slide.

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    1. Yeah, advertising is still scraping the bottom of the barrel at times.

      Talking about scraping the bottom of the barrel, sorry, that's the first caption that popped into my head.

      Delete
  23. Susan, thanks for this very interesting post. I'll have to show that last video to my daughters. It wouldn't surprise me if my oldest and her friends really acted this way at social gatherings. ;-)

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    1. Hey, Linda!!!! Long time no see. Good to hear from you again.

      Depending on how old your daughters are... you could be right!

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  24. This was a really interesting post. It's amazing tor ead about the transformations in advertising. I read a book once about advertising and how overtly racial and sexist some early advertising was. Thank goodness for progress. Or at least on that front.

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    1. Not sure which book you're talking about, but there's a book called "Hidden Persuaders," by Vance Packard that was required reading for a either a psych class or sociology class in the '60s. It was very eye-opening about the blatant manipulation and subliminal messaging that goes into creating an ad.

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  25. I like the last ad! The others not so much. Sadly, it's just as bad, maybe worse today for women - just with different products.

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    1. I dunno. I think most of today's ads portray women in a much better light than what they used to. Men? Not so much.

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  26. Omigosh these ads are hilarious! The baby drinking soda, Santa smoking, oh my how things have changed. I remember too when doctors prescribed smoking to housewives to calm their nerves and decrease depression LOL. Thanks for this reminder that the "good old days" maybe were a bit skewed after all!

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    1. It's amazing how often docs looked at a woman, no matter what her symptoms were, and wrote it off as "bad nerves" or depression. No wonder they were depressed... society was trying to treat them like simpering ninnies without a brain!

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  27. Both of my parents smoked when they were younger. My mom and I have had numerous conversations about how Glamorous smoking was portrayed in the 50s. I had a really hard time seeing it... until today. These ads are something else. "More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette." With that kind of branding, it would be hard to believe that they were BAD for you. Ronald Reagan has one in his mouth and is sending them out as Christmas gifts! My favorite is this one, though: "Blow in her face and she'll follow you anywhere!"

    Bwahahaha. As someone who has had a face full of smoke, that is false advertising! Whoever wrote that ad, needed the spanking that poor woman was getting in the coffee advertisement!

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    1. Yeah, the old ads and TV shows really worked at selling the "glamor"of smoking, didn't they? They never mentioned the smelly breath and brown teeth.

      False advertising, you say? Why, the lovely lady in that ad looks simply delighted!

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  28. Santa smoking - that's a good one. My father who started smoking when he was seven and is now 81, did quit at age 40 or so. My brother had allergies and it was time. He had no problems, but he says that watching Mad Men now, the excellent show set in Madison Avenue heydays made him want a cigarette. Those debonair dudes puffing away harkened my Dad back to the "good old days." And hey - the Marlboro man (actor) died from cancer. But the myth from ads still works - the music, the glam, the sizzle.

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    1. Yep, the ads still works to bring 'em in. My hubby started smoking when he was 13, and he still smokes. I wish he'd quit, but even though we've lost a number of friends from smoking-related illnesses, he isn't motivated to giving them up. But he HAS progressed to going outside to smoke when we're at home, and he doesn't smoke around our grandchildren. So that's something.

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  29. At archive.org that have a lot of old radio teleplays which you can download for free. Some of them are quite good and amusingly have the original commercials still in them as well. It's funny how much the ads have changed but many of the big companies are the same.

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    1. Oh, neat. I'll have to check that out. Thanks.

      Delete
  30. Those sexist ads have something to say. Now I understand the mentality of the men I've met. Believe it or not, there are still men out there who seem to believe that women are less smart than men. And there are women who may even support the notion in certain ways. Then they complain of feminism. How disturbing.

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    1. Yeah, some old guys haven't quite gotten over the "old days' mentality. But you're right' it's even worse when women buy into it.

      Delete
  31. My favorite is doctors recommending a cigarette brand. I'd smack that guy who complains about coffee. Remember this? You've come a long way, baby, to get where you've got to today. You've got your own cigarette now, baby. You've come a long, long way. Thank you for your contribution to the increase in heart and lung problems for women, Virginia Slims.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Yeah, kinda ironic, isn't it? You would've thought doctors would have had a hint about the dangers of smoking even before the Surgeon General said as much. Oh yeah, I remember those VA Slim ads. And I used to smoke that brand, too. In menthol.

      Delete
  32. Sometimes I wonder what our grandchildren will say about our ads... :-)

    My husband doesn't smoke or drink coffee...but he collects historic ads and newspaper clippings, so I've seen these. Interesting stuff, and I agree - commercials reveal a good bit about our culture.

    When I started working, it was still the norm to smoke in an office - even with non-smokers (and pregnant, like I was) present. Today, this would be just unthinkable.

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    1. I wonder what our grandchildren will think about some of the MUSIC of today...

      Oh, very neat that your hubby collects old ads. That's an interesting thing to collect.

      Yep, smoking in the office... in the cafeteria... even in the waiting room at a doctor's office... all were just fine and dandy. And there was no such thing as "sexual harassment" back then, either. During a summer job I had working at the main office for Bethlehem Steel, I got sent over to the office in one of the factories to fill in for a week. Every time I walked through the factory, the guys would hoot and holler,m and shoot me in the behind with rubber bands. Their butts would get in serious trouble for doing that kinda stuff today.

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  33. OMG -- Those ads are shocking and disturbing!!

    My mother-in-law has a book on pregnancy written in the 50s that discourages women from giving up cigarettes during pregnancy. Do you know why? Because giving up cigarettes makes you cranky, and it's bad enough that your husband has to come home to a pregnant wife ... this is no time to make him face a cranky wife, too!

    OMG!!!!!

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    1. Holy moley! I never heard of that before... that is too much! Yowza.

      Delete
    2. unbelievable... also look at old cookbooks. where did I see one.... it was amazing... talk about a woman's place being in the kitchen!... I wanted to punch someone's lights up when I read some of that stuff but couldn't find anyone.

      I'm from the home ec days with teaching us girls how to be good wives. you see why the 60's were important?

      My generation was mad as hell ... man. pbffft

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    3. need to proof.... lights out ... and where teaching us girls to be good wive was the theme... finding an old home ec book from the early or lower would really be an eye opener for the young women...

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    4. well? jumping jeez, Susan... sorry ... early 50s or lower... ok think that one's free of error... ha oh... I see it should also be an 's'. man?

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    5. HA! I thought these ads might get your dander up, Carolyn. Oh yeah, I'm from the Home Ec days, too, where we were taught how to cook, set a nice table... complete with centerpiece, of course... how to sew, including making pleated draperies, how to arrange furniture, manage finances, and in essence, how to keep the king of the castle happy. Sheesh.

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  34. Whoa! Now, that's a freaky trip down memory lane. All those ads with no disclaimers in the fine print. *grin*

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    1. Uh-huh, and you thought TODAY'S ads were bad...

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  35. Somehow this all seems right to me. Yew wimmen git out thar in the kitchen and rattle them pots and pans and let us men run things. Don't worry baby girl, everthang will be OK. Yew just watch.

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    1. Yee-HA, Mr. C. (When a man has a beer in his hand and says, "Watch! Yew ain't gonna believe this s**t!" fer sure, something baaaad is gonna happen.)

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    2. Yee-HA, Mr. C! (When a man holding a beer in his hand says, "Watch this! Yew ain't gonna believe this s**t!" fer sure, something baaaad is gonna happen.

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  36. Oh, my gosh, Sus. The only response I have to this litany is horror! (And increasing horror as I scrolled down, at that.)

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    1. If your only response is horror, you must not have watched that last video. It's a real hoot... um, make that a real "toot!"

      Delete
  37. Oh my gosh, those are fun! Look at Ronald Reagan!! I remember the camel cartoon guy. ;)

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed them. It hasn't been that long since the cartoon camel was around. Years ago, characters like the Flintstones were prevalent in cigarette commercials, too. One of them showed Fred and Barney relaxing with their cigarettes while Wilma and Betty did yard work.

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  38. The worst of the smoking issue is that the governments of the 1950s knew that it was bad for our health but they covered it up as the tobacco companies were so huge and economically important. Those sexist ads have made my blood boil... and what coffee were those poor women supposed to have been using? The ad never said.

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    1. You're right, and to a certain extent, governments are still protecting tobacco companies. Sorry to make your blood boil, but at least things are a little better nowadays. The "coffee jerks" video is a compilation of ad clips and outtakes from old TV shows, so it isn't advertising any one brand of coffee. Just showing some examples of "good old days" husband-wife dynamics.

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  39. I smoked on and off for 40+ years. Mostly because Everyone, even my grandparents, smoked and I thought it was just what you did when you grew up. I got very good at quitting. These ads were just evil. I remember a Flintstones ad where Fred ang Barney smoked Winstons (what my mom smoked)!

    Wow, those "wifey" ads bring out my Brooklyn. I'm appalled at the behavioral programming we got from this rubbish and those evil Madison Ave. pigs.

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  40. Me, too. This time, I've been "clean" for a little over three years. Hopefully, it'll stick this time, but I'm pretty sure it will. I've finally learned there is no such think as having "one" cigarette.

    I remember that Fred & Barney commercial, too. While they smoked, the ladies cut the grass. Kinda fit in with the other sexist commercials of the day.

    HA! No, come on... tell me what you "really" think, Laura...

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  41. Oh, I don't ever remember when cigarettes were touted as good for us.

    Nas

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  42. Those are old advertisements! I can't believe they actually had Santa smoking a cigarette. And they said smoking freshens your breath? What knucklehead would believe that?

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    1. I don't know how many people believed the whole "freshens your breath" crapola, but with so many movie stars smoking, the glamour factor was a big seller.

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  43. Susan, I want to share with you a post I wrote about how women still suffer discrimination. Here it is:
    http://juliahoneswritinglife.blogspot.com/2013/03/mozarts-sister-and-some-reflections.html

    Keep up the good work. I love your blog.

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    1. Thanks, Julia. I checked out that post, and left a comment there. Good job!

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  44. My favorite of the old ads was the one about more doctors smoking Camels than any other brand of cigarette. That one's so "out there" that it seems it could have been a satire of old print ads that was created by a current comedy writer.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. The ads where doctors touted a particular brand of cigarette were the "real deal". I remember them. Hard to imagine, huh?

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  45. Hi Susan .. sanitized tapeworms?!

    I used to love the ads ... thankfully I never smoked ... but I wonder when we will wake up to advertising to not being all it should seem ..

    Wonderful photos .. and that coffee clip .. oh dear! Cheers Hilary

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