Have You Been Immunized Against the Force?

I’ve heard of plenty of movie / product tie-ins and obviously these days product placement is all the rage, but once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, certain bureaucrats decided that Star Wars was a way of ensuring people immunized their children.

There’s a couple of things wrong with this approach if you ask me –

1) The majority of people who would have understood the reference (read: nerds), probably didn’t have any kids

2) It’s just plain dumb.

What do R2D2 and 3CPO have to do with kids health? They’re robots for goodness sake – and this was the age before machine could catch a virus!

The ad’s novel, but in my opinion it’s pretty sucky!

“Call your doctor or health department to make sure and may the force be with you.”



Cure Constipation – Look Sexy

Ford Pills will keep you regularI work in advertising for a living, so I always try to interpret was these old vintage ads are trying to say.

This one for Ford (laxative) Pills really sends me mixed messages.

In the first frame, a bikini class woman is walking along the beach while two guys are ogling her ass!

“It’s so nice to get away and forget the humdrum routine for a little while…”

Cut to the second frame and it’s apparent this woman who turns heads (and seems to enjoy they guys checking out her booty) is actually married with kids.

Frame 3 and they’re all licking ice creams like a good wholesome family – albeit one who worry about food and water bringing on irregularity – “which can spoil a holiday.”

I guess she’s right – whenever you go away as a family, the kids are giving you the shits, so if they’re not pooping, then it’s only going to make it all the more unpleasant.

I would have thought, dodgy food from a holiday destination would have the opposite affect – not block you up.

But that’s where “the gentle help”, aka Ford Pills comes to the rescue to ensure you all stay regular and mummy’s tummy doesn’t look bigger from fluid and excess…


X-Ray Yourself to a Healthier Life

Flouroscope Health ExamUntil the late 1940’s there were a lot of uses for X-Rays and the Flouroscope.

It was used for fitting shoes among other things – and no-one cared about the radiation levels. In fact, when the Shoe Flouroscope was finally subject to regulation it was deemed that children shouldn’t get more than 12 doses a year!!!

This 1940’s ad promotes the benefits of the X-Ray Flouroscope for only $1.

For a measly buck you can get a complete head to foot examination that checks your eyes, ears, liver, reflexes and female organs.

Need more than your insides looked at?

Got a pesky case of syphilis? No worries, they give penicillin treatments.

Want to know your blood type – only 50 cents extra.

And if that’s not enough you can take home an 8×10 of your insides for only $3 – I’m sure your friends will find it more interesting that your slide-nights of travel photos.

So come on down to Uptown Medical and X-Ray Clinic because you “Can’t afford to guess about the condition of your health.”


Oil up your hair…

Duke Hair Sheen Oil“Duke is for men, and men only.”

This is another ad I found in Jet magazine which features almost exclusively African Americans in their ad campaigns with products targeting them exclusively (with the exception of smoking ads which use African Americans as models but which kills everyone equally).

Duke sheen is “new, improved, with more oils for added luster, a manly scent. Result: Health, lively-looking sheen.”

Basically, if you have “afro-hair”, rub some oil in it each morning and even though you’ve been avoiding it, you can “pik you natural from scalp to ends.”

It’s the final statement that cracks me up though – “Result: Healthy-looking hair and a comfortable, loose scalp.”

Who wouldn’t want a loose scalp?


Play with your own organ!

DIY Electric Organ - what could go wrong?When you start to read this sales spiel in this ad, you’ve got to ask yourself – “who are they trying to kid.?”

I’m crap at DIY projects, but apparently “whatever your skill (or lack of it)” you can turn “the hundreds of electrical parts into one of the world’s most beautiful, most musical organs, worth up to twice the cost of the kit.”

Absolute baloney!

If I can mess up an Ikea bookshelf, then trying to put this thing together means that it’d be missing half the black keys and every time you press the Bossanova rhythm switch you’d electrocute yourself – the resale value on it would be 50 cents at most – if you hadn’t died from electric shock in the meantime!

Despite the potential risk to safety and sanity the ad claims that I’d never reap “greater reward, more fun and proud accomplishment, more benefit for the whole family, than by assembling your own Schober Electric Organ.”

If you’re not tempted by now to try and assemble one then let me add one final persuasive fact about this king of instruments – should you actually put it together correctly, you’ll be the most popular person in the neighbourhood as as you “join the thousands of Schober Organ builders-owners who live in every state of the Union” who had the time of their lives assembling 2,750 fiddly individual parts!


Breed Rabbits for Fun and Profit

gratuit pour mieux elever vos lapins: Ce livre de 80 pages vous explique en detail les secrets de elevage.They say a picture tells a thousand words and in this French ad, the message is clear.

Rabbits breed like ummm… rabbits!

But so is the text:

“Votre lapine peut mettre bas 40 lapereaux” translates as “Your rabbit can give birth 40 rabbits”.

“The wild rabbit is low 7 to 9 times per year. Yet your rabbit has trouble sure – she can do better.”

I think the gist of that is that wild rabbits don’t produce enough offspring, but if you buy this utterly fascinating and revealing book, you too can turn 1 rabbit into 40!

So feel “free to better elevate your rabbits: 80 pages This book explains in detail the secrets of breeding.” (thanks Google translate).

So if you’d like to make extra money on the side breeding cute little bunnies – this book is worth every penny – just keep them away from those Bunny Boiling ex girlfriends.


Attack of the Cursed Syphilis

Attack of the Cursed SyphilisAttack of the Cursed Syphilis

Ok, so this ad is not particularly vintage, but it’s certainly taken it’s art direction from early horror films.

This postcard aimed at HIV positive is probably one of the most bizarre modern pieces of advertising I’ve seen in a long while.

I mean, what do fish-people have to do with Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

Maybe the whole retro look is meant to disarm your “ad shield” so you actually pay some attention, but it’s still pretty out there.

“Starring you and you and maybe you too…”

So “if you’ve got HIV, Syphilis can hit you harder and faster…” and / or take on the form of deepwater alien fish monsters!



Wear this Underwear and You’ll be Sexy NOT!

Unsexy Men's Underwear from the 1970'sUnderwear ads have changed a lot in the last 40 years!

In Australia we have ads by Bonds for female knickers that can’t be shown in primetime and any number of buff male models showing off their abs for Calvin Cline.

This ad from the 1970’s doesn’t seem to care that sex sells.

In fact, quite the opposite!

On the left we have an old guy in what can only be described as the male equivalent of “granny knickers”.

On the right we have a surfer in leopard print jocks.

And in the middle, we have someone who looks like they should have starred in some English sitcom like “To the Manner Born” or a really low budget porn-film.

I’m sure Y-fronts are sexy and Jockey’s Semi-brief’s have “got every man covered”, but you wouldn’t find me dead in these – not even if I’ve “grown out of one style but aren’t ready for the other.”


Spalding’s Universal Family Salve

Universal Salve and Cure-all!This is a great ad from the times when you could be a snake-oil merchant without worrying about the authorities clamping down on even the wildest claims (or most toxic ingredients).

(Ahh, the good old days).

Spalding’s Universal Family Salve, although curiously not available for sale anymore, is basically a cure for everything!!!

To summarise, it will cure:

  • Bites
  • Bruises
  • Burns
  • Boils,
  • Festered wounds
  • Lumbago
  • Sprains
  • Splinters
  • and much, much more…

1) If applied to burns, the “festering ulceration” is at once allayed.

2) Apply it to your “gathered breasts” to “decrease the process of suppuration and lessen the amount of suffering.”

3) It’s a sure remedy for bad breasts (he does seem to be hung up on this part of a woman’s anatomy)

4) It will heal the most dangerous looking wounds, soften and reduce swelling and “restore to perfect soundness old and inveterate sores.”

I’m amazed that something as incredible as this isn’t still for sale? Surely if it was a miraculous cure-all then W.R. Spalding would still be in business?

Or maybe it’s just another case of quackery and snake-oil in a bottle.

Warning this product may contain lead, mercury, opium and / or other ingredients that cure your boils but shorten your life-span.


Who’d Smoke a Boring Cigarette?

Viceroy Cigarettes are anything but boring“He’s got a pocketful of money, a fun-loving woman, and a taste for excitement. He wouldn’t smoke a boring cigarette.”

This ad is from a 1974 issue of Jet magazine and is one of the several cigarette ads that feature negro’s exclusively.

While other magazines show white guys being tough, I noticed that most of the ads in Jet show black guys being cool and sauve.

I guess it’s a way of saying, “hey you may be vilified, stopped by the cops at every intersection and relegated to crappy jobs, but if you smoke these cigarette’s that have a full-bodied flavor that doesn’t flatten out, is always rich… always exciting”, then you’d get the taste of the high life that Viceroy promises.

This is what everyone wants of course! A life of excitement, a hot car, a fun-loving women and a pocketful of money!

If he’s got all this, of course “He wouldn’t smoke a boring cigarette.”