These outrageous food advertisements are a good laugh now, but in the mid-1900s these ads weren’t joking around—they were actual marketing efforts. Below, take a walk down memory lane to see just how far we have come in the advertising industry.
Underwood Deviled Ham: The Ultimate Man Trap 1963
In the early 1960s, advertisers wanted to capitalize on the belief that all woman were out to snatch a man. Combine this effort with a little “Make me a sandwich, woman” mentality and you get this gem by Underwood. This girl thinks she has snagged her man, but he looks like he may just be cooperating for the free sandwiches.
Butter: Eat as Much as Possible 1950s
Okay, we’re not sure on the origin of this one—but we’re sincerely hoping this vintage print is a phony. Its claim that butter’s slipperiness results in good nutrition is definitely more than we can stomach. One thing’s for certain, if this ad did run, it was prior to the establishment of the FDA.
Mother’s Day: So Mom Can Feed Dad 1950
This advertiser knew exactly how to distinguish Whitman’s chocolates: market the product as a gift your wife will give right back to you.
Green Giant Company: Furry Foot Rugs 1967
Are your kids eating their vegetables? If not, try giving them one of these fuzzy, green foot rugs to make them crave veggies! This unique attempt to make green beans and corn more fun is appreciated, but it is unlikely that a furry rug of a foot will make anything appetizing.
KFC: Wife Savers 1968
Ads playing up the stereotypical housewife role were all over the place in the mid-twentieth century. This one, from KFC, is a prime example. Aside from making the assumption that women are routinely weary, this ad is also gives some off-based advice. Fried fast food seven days a week? Definitely not going to help the weary.
Jell-O: Yak Attack 1954
In the 1950s, Jell-O released a series of far-fetched animal advertisements similar to this one. One, featuring a leopard, hardly made any sense and read: “When I’m eating Jell-O I wish I were a leopard because then everyone would see that Jell-O–delicious Jell-O—really hits the spot.” Though this yak is our favorite of the bunch. Remind us why you have to be a yak to rave about great food??
Lard: The Secret Key to Happiness 1930s
Well, the Lard Information Council had to come up with something. And this is the fruit of that labor where we are supposed to believe lard will make us happy without any explanation.
Campbell’s Tomato Juice: Toast to Health! 1935
If you are serious about getting healthy, then maybe your “Wine Wednesdays” and “Girls’ Night Out” need to become “Tomato Juice Tuesdays.” While this ad’s text suggests drinking Campbell’s tomato juice before breakfast to absorb daily vitamins, the photo isn’t exactly consistent with that message. These ladies look ready to cheer “bottom’s up!” and hit the town.
7UP: Pure Pleasure 1956
Here’s the text for those without a magnifying glass: “For a fact, you can even give this sparkling drink to babies—and without any qualms. Lots of mothers do just that! Just read the ingredients on the 7-Up bottle and you’ll see why. We’re proud to list them for your inspection, even though regulations don’t require this on soft drinks. Seven-Up has a special fresh, clean taste that appeals to everyone at your house—be nine years or ninety. It’s the All-Family Drink!”
Not only does this alarming advertisement endorse filling a baby’s cup with soda, but it also describes soda as having a “clean taste.” Compared to today’s understanding of clean eating, we have come a long way.
Sara Lee: Party On 1960
Sara Lee knows what’s up—who needs friends when you have chocolate cake? Her face says it all: “I’m not going out because I have cake, and lots of it.” Add sweatpants and Netflix and the party is complete.
Campbell’s: The Can Bag 1960s
Nothing about hot Campbell’s soup makes us think about the beach, but that didn’t stop Campbell’s from turning their product into a portable beach bag.
Blatz: Beer Helps Both Mom and Baby
“Stimulating” we would agree with, but “nourishing?” Not so much.
Campbell’s: Good Things Begin to Happen 1960
“Good things begin to happen when the lady of the house has soup for lunch.” How are we supposed to believe good things will happen with this little girl’s haunting facial expression creeping on us?
Velveeta: Full of Health 1950
Let’s get one thing straight—just because a product is made with a beneficial ingredient, does not make it healthy. Velveeta tries its best to be convincing here, but we’re not buying it.
Cocaine Candy 1885
These cocaine drops supposedly cure tooth aches instantaneously for only 15 cents. What a bargin! We can’t speak to the product’s effectiveness, but we can guarantee this isn’t something you would see on shelves today.