18 awful vintage ads from the 20th century which show how far we have progressed

Pear's soap early 1900svintage-ads.livejournal.comThis Pears Soap ad from the 1900s is one of many racist vintage ads.

It’s true that some modern-day ads objectify women, but there’s no way companies could get away with what they just did a half-century ago.

In the Pre-Civil Rights era, major brands like Kellogg’s featured sexist slogans, like “The Harder A Wife Works, The Cuter She Looks.”

Other companies promoted pseudoscience that we now know to be utter bunk. 7-Up told mums to add the soda to their babies’ milk. Camel cigarettes was marketed as “the doctor’s favourite brand.”

It makes you wonder how many of today’s ads will shock our grandkids’ generation.

Kim Bhasin compiled the original version of this report.

This Palmolive ad from the 1920s makes out that appearance is more important than intelligence for women.


In the 1940s, Camel tried to make out that cigarettes are actually good for you.

This Jello ad from the 1920s shows a small black boy serving a white woman at a 'plantation.'

A Kellogg's ad from the 1930s encourages women to work hard around the house.


7up encouraged mothers to give their babies the sugary drink in the 1950s.

The Soda Pop Board Of America had a similar idea to 7up.

The city desk

Marlboro used babies to sell cigarettes in the 1950s.


Here's another example.


Van Heusen mocked at non-white people in the 1950s.


Hoover suggested its cleaning devices were the ideal gift for women in the 1960s.

Baby Soft was not worried about sexualizing children in the 1970s.

Baby Soft

Old Gold reduced women to cigarette holders in this ad.


NK Fairbank Co. depicted black children as unclean.

Slate / Chinese Historical Society of America

Lysol portrayed women as full of 'doubt,' 'ignorance,' and 'inhibitions.'


Jade East showed a shocking ignorance of the importance of consent in this ad.


Warner's reduced female body shape to fruit in 1967. It says it will help 'girls with too much bottom and too little top.'


In 1969, Tab told women to stay away from sugar ... to please men.


Pear's Soap in the early 1900s described teaching cleanliness as the 'white man's burden.'


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