Society has greatly evolved over the past decades, with women stepping out of homes to take on significant roles in the workplace and men actively participating in the upbringing of children, from changing diapers to attending school plays. Likewise, advertising has vastly improved, with marketing and compliance teams guiding companies how to best endorse their products. Otherwise, these businesses can find themselves wasting money on billboards that need to be taken down because the public finds them discriminatory.
However, a lot of popular ads back in the day were not just discriminatory, they were false, insensitive, politically incorrect, and downright offensive. The ads and flyers in newspapers and magazines, as well as the commercials on television, were full of absurd claims, sexism, racism, and all forms of bigotry. It’s appalling how the minds behind these ads worked, probably thinking their promotions were effective, witty, and hilarious. Perhaps some ads were mildly amusing in an over-the-top sort of way, but several of them would be unacceptable and banned today.
Here’s a collection of supposedly funny and harmless ads from the past but are actually sexist, racist, crude, absurd, disturbing, and even horrifying.