Weird Advertising

Weird Advertising

The History of Advertising in Some Pretty Weird Ads

With the Super Bowl on the horizon, and the many great commercials we look forward to every year, it got me thinking about how advertising has evolved over the years.

Let’s face it: advertising at times can be weird. It’s even weirder when you take a look at ads from the past. We need to look no further than the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century to see this.

Check out this one from Gillette

Dentists today focus on helping parents teach their kids good dental hygiene habits. Looks like in the early 1900s, Gillette thought learning to shave at a young age was pretty important. No worries, I guess. It is a SAFETY razor after all.Werid Ads - Gillette

Dr. Williams’ Pink Pills

Today people want a whiter smile but in the early 1900’s they wanted their skin to be more pink. This raises a couple of questions: what was in those things that made people turn pink? And, even more bizarre, why did people want to turn pink?Weird Ads - Pink Pills

Cocaine Drops for Your Toothaches

Where to even begin with this one… First off, this product would definitely be illegal today. Could this have been the start of all of the drug abuse problems we have today? I like how they feature children in the ad. Here kids, while you’re playing, enjoy some cocaine drops.Weird Ads - Cocain Drops

Marlboro Cigarettes

This is one of my favorites. A kid hawking cigarettes to his mom. What kid doesn’t want their mom to smoke? My takeaway from this ad? Can someone please get this kid a razor? He needs to start shaving.Weird Ads - Marlboro


This kid knows he’s getting away with something he shouldn’t—just look at him! He’s giddy with sheer pleasure, and can’t wait to drink down his cup of liquid sugar. I mean the ad does say it is so PURE and so WHOLESOME. Every baby should be drinking 7up. And getting their mom to smoke…And getting in a nice clean shave.Weird Ads - Cola

Oreo Cookies

This kid looks like he’s already had a million Oreos. I don’t know about you, but if eating Oreos made my kid look like some type of psycho, I might opt for the 7up instead.Weird Ads - Oreo

Really when you look at all these crazy ads, doesn’t make you wonder just what people 100 years from now will be saying about the ads we see everyday? Think about that the next time an ad entices you to make a purchase. You could be putting your baby at risk…

Author: Kathy Jiamboi

Owner of Creativedge Marketing, where growth-oriented dentists find dental practice marketing strategies and advice to take their practice to a new and higher level.

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