Funny Adverts From Bygone Times

Gillette Razor - Bygone Times

Following an interesting and fascinating article by Hermione Hoby in the Observer newspaper in August 2010 where she looked at advertising in the "olden days".  Will and Guy decided to search the internet to provide a barrel load of laughs for our readers and viewers.
  • Amazing Adverts From a Bygone Era
  • Terrible Cigarette Adverts
  • Advertising Quotes and Sayings
  • Rampant Sexism in Old Advert
  • Cocaine Toothache Drops Advert
  • Top Ten Hilarious Advertising Trivia

Hilarious, Yet Amazing Adverts From a Bygone Era

The following adverts need little or no explanation to encourage you to smile or perhaps even guffaw out loud.  We categorise these bygone times adverts as dangerous, sexist, ageist and generally totally out of touch with the values in the 21st Century. Guy thinks that Stephen Leacock's view on adverting is a sound and amusing one: 'Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.' Will, on the other hand, prefers Jef Richards take: 'Creative without strategy is called "art." Creative with strategy is called "advertising."'

Smoke in her face

Terrible Cigarette Adverts -

Classic Yesteryear Propaganda In 1965, President L.B. Johnson enacted a law in the USA requiring cigarette manufacturers to put health warnings on their packets. Here are examples of why he took this strong action. Smoke in her face Smoke in her face

Thought-Provoking Advertising Quotes and Sayings

Preamble:  Guy says these advertising quotes are dynamite, I had to read some of these authors sage words twice to get the full significance.  Will points out that while bygone adverts are completely out-of-touch with the 21st century, these remarks are still poignant today. What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising?  Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public.  Vilhjalmur Stefansson. Let advertisers spend the same amount of money improving their product that they do on advertising and they wouldn't have to advertise it. Will Rogers The trouble with us in America isn't that the poetry of life has turned to prose, but that it has turned to advertising copy. Louis Kronenberger Bread and jam - Bygone Times It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper. R. Serling Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket. George Orwell Advertising may be described as the science of arresting human intelligence long enough to get money from it. Stephen Leacock Advertising is 85% confusion and 15% commission. Fred Allen Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does. Stuart H. Britt Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.  John Wanamaker See more funny adverts.

Rampant Sexism in Long Forgotten Adverts

Because advertising has to be so direct, it makes the sexism all the more obvious. These examples of outrageous stereotyping make Will angry, and Guy cry with laughter. It is our job to make women unhappy with what they have. B. Earl Puckett Kenwood Chef - Wife would like one! Kenwood Chef - Wife would like one!


Look this ad over carefully. (See right)  Circle the items that you want for Christmas. Show it to your husband.  If he does not go to the store immediately, cry a little. Not a lot, just a little. He'll go.  He'll go

A Funny Advert From Bygone Times

Nice to have a girl around the house

Old Advertising Tricks

When Gerber first started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the USA with the baby on the label.  Later they found out that in Africa companies routinely put pictures on the label of what's inside since most people can't read.

Even The Aged Are Not Spared

Senile Treatment Guy says 'what is this drug to control senility?'  Will says, 'just give him another whisky instead.'

Cocaine 'Toothache Drops' Advert

Cocaine was sold to cure toothache, sore throat, neuralgia, nervousness, headache, colds and sleeplessness in the 1880s Cocaine Toothpaste Drops  

Will and Guy's Top Ten Hilarious and Funny Advertising TriviaPears Soap

  1. The American Dairy Association was so successful with its "Got Milk?" campaign, that it was decided to extend the ads to Mexico.  Unfortunately, the Spanish translation was "Are you lactating?""
  2. Electrolux, a Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer, used this advert in the USA: "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux."
  3. When Braniff Airlines translated a slogan touting its upholstery, "Fly in leather," it came out in Spanish as "Fly naked."
  4. Coors beer put its slogan, "Turn it loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer from diarrhoea."
  5. Bacardi concocted a fruity drink with the name "Pavian" to suggest French chic...but "pavian" translates as "baboon" in German.
  6. A hair products company, Clairol, introduced the "Mist Stick", a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that mist is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the manure stick.
  7. When Pepsi started marketing its products in China a few years back, they translated their slogan, "Pepsi Brings You Back to Life" literally. The slogan in Chinese really meant, "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Grave."
  8. In Italy, a campaign for "Schweppes Tonic Water" translated the name into the much less thirst quenching "Schweppes Toilet Water."
  9. The Chevrolet Nova car never sold well in Spanish speaking countries. "No va" means "it doesn't go" in Spanish.
  10. In the French part of Canada, Hunt-Wesson introduced its "Big John" products as "Gros Jos." It later found out that the phrase is slang for "big breasts."
Bygone Era Footnote: Please send us your adverts from bygone times.