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20 Unbelievably Shocking Vintage Ads: What Were They Thinking?

I’ve recently become obsessed with Vintage Ads. I love the retro graphics and fun cartoons, but have you ever taken a closer look at some of the messages big brands used to send?

It’s fairly shocking to me how these were considered acceptable only 50-60 years ago – not even a lifetime! What do you think of these?

shocking vintage ads

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Jeana Shandraw

Jeana Shandraw

Rarely caught without a camera, Jeana is an adventurous traveler with a passion for people, cultures and food that has led her to 38 countries in 5 years. When she's not using her powers for social good, she enjoys photography, cooking and building LEGOs with her son. On occasion, you may also find her crocheting cute things to hide in her husband's underwear drawer.

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  1. Shari D.
    February 16, 2015 at 12:24 pm — Reply

    That one about starting babies on soda pop/cola drinks at such a young age is bogus. From what I have just found out a few minutes ago, from some comments posted with this same ad on Pinterest, it was made up by someone who goes by the name R J White in 2002 for livejournal, and has a Pinterest board called “Repinning the people who have repinned my dumb fake ad” or some such nonsense. And there’s no such thing as “The Soda Pop Board of America.”

  2. January 16, 2014 at 9:22 am — Reply

    I love vintage ads. I have a major in marketing and it’s amazing how much advertising has changed over the past 100 years.

  3. January 16, 2014 at 6:41 am — Reply

    WOW. These are all bad, but some are just TERRIBLE! I’d say we’ve come a long way, but I woke up this morning to see a t-shirt from Urban Outfitters that says “Eat Less.” :(

  4. January 10, 2014 at 5:54 am — Reply

    Wow, some of those are outrageous! It’s wild to think about what things we consider “acceptable” now that might be considered unbelievable in the future, too.

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