My friend came across these vintage adds the other day. She was rather shocked by their content and so was I. I wouldn't say that there is sexual equality in today's society but oh baby, we've come a long way. In our current climate of political correctness, it's really hard to believe that such ads were allowed to be seen by the masses back then. It's not just sexism, but these advertising campagns tackle other issues that are now considered off-limits and socially unaccepted, like smoking, physical violence, promiscuity, child abuse, racism, pedophilia, etc.
Have a look at this vintage Van Heusen ad on the left. It's absolutely shocking, with the woman on her knees while serving her man. And on the right is a current ad from the same company. This ad has apparently been banned in some parts of the world. Sexism has been replaced with Sexy. It's just as provocative, but in a different way. Because one thing about advertising hasn't changed and that is 'sex sells' just about anything.
Smoking has become such a taboo activity that it has been practically shunned from all public places and is arguably considered an immoral act. It went from being a very social, activity to one that is now associated with deadly diseases . Currently cigarette ads are designed to scare the addiction away. But Marlboro still manages to put a positive spin on smoking with their signature look. Who hasn't heard of the Marlboro Man? He is that rugged cowboy that romance novels are madeof.
With American football's biggest event approaching soon, I'm sure that Advertising agencies are hard at work with designs and concepts for the latest and greatest in television, radio and print ads for their expensive clients. The below ads may not be right for today's sensibilities, but I'm sure that the upcoming Superbowl's advertising results will be just as contraversial and memorable in a different way. Who knows, 20 years from now, today's ad may raise just as many eyebrows as these vintage ones do today.
Here are some vintage publications available for purchase