Vintage Ads That Might Be Banned Today

Advertising and marketing have come a long way since the early days. Sexism, drinking, smoking–companies got away with all sorts of ad campaigns that would probably be boycotted today. Times have changed, and that’s often a good thing, but it’s still fun to walk down memory lane. These ads provide a window back in time. Not only do they convey information about what was happening socially in the world; they showcase yesteryear’s fashions, hairstyles, and much more. If you enjoy history, check out these eye-catching vintage ads that are sure to surprise you with their unique way of selling a myriad of products.

Who Are You Calling Chubby?

Lane Bryant is still in business today, but the company has, not surprisingly, rebranded its product line to something other than “Chubbies.”

Lighting Up

Very few doctors smoke these days, and none of them promote cigarette smoking if they want to keep their medical license.

If He Wants Cake, He Should Bake It!

A Kitchen Aid is a sweet kitchen luxury, but these days, women who own them don’t owe men homemade cake.

It’s Not Organic!

Poison and fresh produce don’t pair very well these days. DDT is illegal, so this advertisement would not have a chance today.

This Is Just Down-Right Rude

Women are not the root cause of STDs, but you wouldn’t know it from this ad!

Straight People Like It Too!

Once upon a time, gay meant happy, but running this ad today would raise some eyebrows. Obviously, you don’t have to be gay to enjoy what this ad’s selling.

Selling Suicide

It’s unclear what this ad is selling. It looks like it’s promoting suicide.

Racism and Dandruff

Was it the blatant racism or wacky claims that put this manufacturer out of business?

Promoting Female Rivalry One Ad at a Time

Scaring women with thoughts of infidelity do not have the makings of a power-selling campaign.

When Busty Was Best

Crazy contraptions were all the rage once upon a time. You won’t find this one on the market today.

Get These Babies Some Air!

Cellophane might be ok for your leftovers, but it should never, we repeat, never top a child’s face or it can prevent them from breathing. This company ran several ads with babies. What was it thinking?

Close Shave

Babies and razor blades? Believe it or not, the company probably paid a lot of money for that creepy ad back in the day.


It’s important for advertising executives to consider every possible meaning associated with a slogan. Clearly, these executives wanted to get the ad done and get to lunch.

A Cup of Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a whole lot worse than stale coffee. Fortunately, this ad would never fly today.

Parasites for Weight Loss

Today, purposely ingesting a parasite is cause to visit your local mental healthcare provider.

More Sexism

Clearly, ad executives in the fifties and sixties endorsed the idea that women belonged in the kitchen.

Slice of Ham?

This ad proves that no language or culture is immune to poor taste.

Selling Skinny

Tab soda thought it was a good idea to tell women that they’d matter more to him if they stayed skinny. Way to promote eating disorders, Tab.

Short Dresses

Responsible ad companies keep little girls well-clothed in their ads today.


People still Raz Tampax for this piece of advertising nonsense.

Blatant Sexism

This ad wouldn’t meet with approval today–unless she was pouring hot coffee in his lap!

The Smiling Secretary

There’s only one woman in this ad’s workplace, and she’s taking notes and answering phones.

Getting Beautiful Is a Pain

This scary-looking beauty contraption was just a lawsuit waiting to happen.

The Racially Insensitive Past

Not only is this ad sexist, but also blatantly racist. Ads like this remind us the good old days weren’t always that good.

Hard Body Sells Power Tools

What exactly about a woman stretched tautly has anything remotely to do with power tools?

Making Light of Mental Health

Women’s mental and mood disorders are only a problem so far that they affect men. We understand, Dr. Miles. This sexist ad diminishes mental health in one fell swoop.

It’s True: Candy Gives Kids Energy

With the obesity epidemic in full swing, few candy companies are urging moms to forgo apples in favor of sugary snacks.

Not a Healthy Option

Expectant mothers flaunting cigarettes isn’t likely to be a winning marketing strategy these days.

Soda for Babies?

Surely, this soda company has heard that breast milk or formula is better than soda. These days, no company could get away with encouraging babies to drink pop.