This Online Group Shares 50 Funny And Weird Vintage Ads And Most Of Them Hilariously Failed The Test Of Time

They say that you need to explore the past to understand the present. Like flipping through historic photos that change our perspective or discovering time-honored places and the stories behind them. Visuals help us get a sneak peek into moments that we have long forgotten or weren’t even aware of. But there are some illustrations, like old-fashioned ads, that offer heaps of wisdom into how our attitudes were shaped and often get overlooked.

So get ready for a blast from the past because one corner on Reddit called ‘Vintage Advertisements’ is sharing plenty of hilarious and plain outrageous ads that didn’t age that gracefully. Members of this online community let us poke fun at past behaviors and remind us of all humanity has achieved in the last decades, and their efforts do not go unnoticed.

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From “Get into Grunge!” to “Should you drink if you’re pregnant?”, these ads prove that hindsight really is 20/20. We at Bored Panda have gathered some of their best examples and wrapped them up in one list, all for your entertainment. So continue scrolling and hit upvote on your favorite ones! And if you’ve ever stumbled upon ads that are simply begging to be ridiculed, we’d love to hear all about them in the comments below.

#1 Superman Against Racism/Discrimination Ad Circa 1950

Image credits: __braveTea__

#2 LEGO (1981)

Image credits: superdankm8

#3 They All Got Vaccine Except Dad – Workbench Magazine – 1958

Image credits: sir_rossington

With the tagline, “Ads from the past!”, members of this online community are always on the lookout for lesser-known visuals that leave people amused, enraged, or simply pleasantly surprised. Over 107k old-fashioned advertising enthusiasts follow the group and always take the opportunity to share their thoughts and have discussions about the illustrations and how much the world has changed since they were created.

#4 Homosexuals Are Different, Mattachine Society Of New York, 1960

Image credits: Slow-moving-sloth

#5 Bacardi Rum Ad, 1983

Image credits: Unable-Airport-9121

#6 Philips (Netherlands, 1951)

Image credits: ConsciousRhubarb

One of the main goals of advertising is to allow companies to get their message across and communicate with potential customers. After all, the world keeps evolving, and advertising is tagging along. It has become an essential part of our lives and, though some of us are afraid to even think about it, it’s carefully designed to speak to the hearts of the consumers and predict what their minds want. It taps into our hopes, dreams, goals, fears, and sometimes, it seems like it just keeps chasing us everywhere.

#7 An Unusually Progressive Seagrams Ad, Circa 1970s

Image credits: ofthrees

#8 Jester Wools (1947, UK)

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Image credits: MetaHelvetica

#9 Mcdonald’s, 1987 Ad

Image credits: Paul-Belgium

But let’s take a step back, shall we? Interestingly, the first-ever advertisement was discovered in 3000 BC in the ruins of Thebes in Egypt. According to Sagar Joshi, a content marketing specialist, it was a Papyrus created by a slaveholder trying to find their runaway servant while promoting their weaving shop at the same time. “For news of his whereabouts half a gold coin is offered. And for his return to the shop of Hapu the Weaver, where the best cloth is woven to your desires, a whole gold coin is offered,” the transcript states. Apparently, in ancient times, it was completely normal to simultaneously ask for help and try to boost your clothing sales.

#10 American, 1885

Image credits: vmcla

#11 Best Buy, 1999

Image credits: TommyAdagio

#12 1978 Star Wars Vaccination Ad

Image credits: Paul-Belgium

Ever since then, people promoted themselves and their craft through word of mouth or by making carved signs and flags. A few centuries passed, and the history of modern advertising actually began in the 1700s. As Joshi explains in his article, those days were the pre-internet age, so the only way for brands to communicate at that time was through outdoor and print ads.

“Direct advertising, which involves directly reaching out to potential customers, was considered an expensive option before the internet,” he explained. “Many organizations preferred indirect advertising because it was more affordable. Indirect advertising dealt with promoting a product or service in a subtle way, without sounding too sales-y. For example, big signs and posters in front of a shop.”

#13 Electricity Was New Once. These Signs Were Mostly In Hotel Rooms And Other Public Places

Image credits: Gwendolyn7777

#14 Beauty Is More Then Skin Deep, Cordless Massager, Anthony Enterprises, 1971

Image credits: Slow-moving-sloth

#15 New York Pizza Burger (1980s)

Image credits: Epstiendidntkillself

In 1704, John Campbell started to distribute the Boston News-Letter, the first continuously issued newspaper in the United States. Soon after it started reaching the readers, one of the first newspaper ads appeared in the paper. According to a blog post on Softcube, it was a real estate advertisement selling a plantation on Oyster Bay, Long Island.

#16 1934 Ad By The ‘Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals’

Image credits: onepersononeidea

#17 1979 Ad For London Transit Showing How The City Would Look If Built By American Planners

Image credits: morganmonroe81

#18 How To Carry 20 Megabytes Of Data Around In 1985

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This one simple ad initiated a whole industry that soon embarked on a journey to change the world. The 20th century was the time when advertising started flourishing. It is considered the golden era of advertising. You see, things took a whole new turn when radio stations and television came into play, Joshi wrote. It almost seemed like the industry sparked a movement that took a huge part in society – basically taking on a cultural status.

#19 “The Day My Kid Went Punk… What Do You Do When Your Bright, Loveable, Talented Kid Turns Into A Punker Overnight?” – Abc Afterschool Special, Oct. 23, 1987

Image credits: DiosMioMan63

#20 One Oregon Newspaper Clip Reads: “We Appeal To Your Civil Patriotism To Co-Operate With Us In Our Effort To Stamp Out The Spanish Influenza Or “Flu” Plague In Portland By Wearing A Mask”

Image credits: Paul-Belgium

#21 “The Closest Some Of Us Will Ever Get To Heaven” — World Trade Center (1980)

Image credits: UltimateLazer

With the radio and television, ads started becoming more personal. Companies started directly reaching into the minds of consumers, trying to boost their sales and ask them to try out their goods and services. “Radio advertising was launched in 1922 and was a big hit, allowing businesses to convey their unique selling propositions (USP) directly to consumers. Advertisers started paying radio stations to broadcast advertisements to their listening audience.”

#22 Drummond Sweaters – 1967

Image credits: PioneerStandard

#23 1/2 Page Converse Ad Scanned In From A 1984 Playboy Magazine, I Just Read It For The Ads

Image credits: mikeyRamone

#24 Eat Ironized Yeast (1930s)

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Joshi continued that radio ads were quickly followed by TV advertising, with the first television commercial airing in 1941. “Bulova Watch Company aired the first TV commercial, which was ten seconds long and seen by 4,000 people in New York,” who were all reading one message, “America runs on Bulova time.” This might seem like a small moment, but it set the precedent for the next seventy years. It inspired new ideas in the industry, and organizations started investing heavily in promoting their brand’s value and mission and engaging their target audience.

#25 Simpsons Newspaper Ad (1991)

Image credits: GrapeJelly_

#26 Pan American Airlines (1956)

Image credits: MetaHelvetica

#27 Schlitz “Don’t Worry Darling, You Didn’t Burn The Beer!” 1950’s

Image credits: susierabbit

As you probably can guess, then came the colorful days of the internet, which simply changed our lives. Joshi wrote that as the use of the web became more widespread, advertisers began focusing more on digital ads. Well, we’re all well aware of that by being consistently bombarded with ads at any given time of the day. However, it’s hard to deny the benefits the creation of technology brought to our lives. After all, it also provides us with the opportunity to flip through the pages of history and take a peek at the visuals that can tell us a lot about what ideas and attitudes prospered at the time.

#28 Citroën 2cv, 80’s

Image credits: Superbuddhapunk

#29 The Establishment Wig, 1968

Image credits:

#30 “When In Quarantine; People Who Are In Quarantine Are Not Isolated If They Have A Bell Telephone” – Bell Telephone Ad, November 17, 1910

Image credits: FNaXQ

#31 Really, Really Excited About Hot Dogs (1950s)

Image credits: MetaHelvetica

#32 “It’s Almost Like Having Another Lover There With The Two Of You”

Image credits: MrCarnality

#33 1977 Sears Catalog

Image credits: morganmonroe81

#34 Ray Ban 1998 Ad

Image credits: Paul-Belgium

#35 Volkswagen Beetle, 1965

Image credits: Slow-moving-sloth

#36 Matchbook Ad For Camp Wandawega In Elkhorn, Wi

Image credits: 50thStreetInc

#37 Drunk Driving Ad, London… I’m Going To Say 1930’s? Sorry For The Light Reflection!

Image credits: Terminian

#38 70’s Ad For Asbestos

Image credits: morganmonroe81

#39 Garfield Telephone By Tyco (1978)

Image credits: TaimSolas

#40 Kickin Jeans

Image credits: MrZombified

#41 American Airlines, 1971

Image credits: Paul-Belgium

#42 With A Smile

Image credits: MetaHelvetica

#43 Remember When Brach’s Pick A Mix Was The Best Thing About Going To The Grocery Store? (1970s)

Image credits: DiosMioMan2

#44 Toll Booth Quarter Gun (1962)

Image credits: GymbagDarrel

#45 Yes, These Are Telephones. Created By The Ericsson Company Of Sweden In The 1940s, Marketed In The 1950s

Image credits: 50thStreetInc

#46 Gay Boy Tobacco 1890

Image credits: 70sTimewarp58

#47 Save Wild Life. 1975

Image credits: Dhorlin

#48 Cellophane (1954): Better Living Through Chemistry

Image credits: PhilThecoloreds

#49 No, K Mart, No

Image credits: Dreams_of_Eagles

#50 Lose Weight With Pure Sugar! (1950s)

Image credits: 50thStreetInc


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