Who Are the Ad Wizards?
I don’t have cable TV. Isn’t that adorable?
For nearly a decade, my TV-watching has been confined to Netflix and whatever colored pixel formations are picked up by our rabbit ears. Yes, they’re called “rabbit ears”. Isn’t that adorable, too?
I heard from people who know a lot about a lot of things that there are these ads on TV called “commercials”. I hear they’re compelling. I hear they’re like fine works of art. I hear there’s a man wearing a suit covered in question marks that makes people want to find money. I hear people like money. I hear there’s a woman wearing a suit covered in fleece that enables you to sleep on the toilet. I hear people like to sleep on the toilet.
But how could these “commercials” be any more compelling than those of the Golden Age of advertising — those slick, clever ads I once saw on the pages of my mother’s Good Housekeeping? Those brilliant ads that convinced me at age six that I wanted to buy a douche. I heard it would improve my tennis game. Never mind that I didn’t play tennis. Never mind that my brother called me douche.
Here are a few of my other favorite ads.
Ads that made you want to eat stuff.
Mmmmmm . . . is anyone else getting hungry? I love the old-style photography back in 1978. It made even curried pig brains served on a bed of parsley look outrageously appetizing.
So many tasty clip-out Jell-O recipes back in the Golden Age. And I didn’t think they could make Jell-O any better. Then they submerged it in cake. You got that? There’s more. Then they put Cool Whip on top. Are you kidding me? The Sunday night church basement potluck dinners just got fun again.
But it gets better. Because then some culinary geniuses put together the Jell-O Miracle Whip dream team. Oh, please tell me that’s a walnut on top of this. It is! And canned fruit cocktail, marshmallows and shredded carrots, too? Oh, you’re too good to me, Jell-O.
We don’t actually know what Billy is talking about here. Something about becoming a man. Mom’s certain it’s the Manwich. Serving Billy Manwich makes Mom feel good about his otherwise dismal prospects of one day becoming a man.
Ads that made you want to clean stuff.
Madge, are you telling me that it will make my hands softer while I do the dishes? Soft hands and clean dishes? Get out! What are you gonna tell me next, that cleaning windows will make my nails stronger? That waxing the floor will make me smarter? This is all like a dream come true!
For a moment, I almost thought this ad could be sexist. Wait, is it? Nah. Well, if it is, I’m so focused on “the utility company’s expense” part that I scarcely noticed anything else. You see what they just did there? Yeah, I didn’t either. I don’t really understand anything going on here. I’m as confused as any housewife is when her husband starts talking about complex matters like “money” and “utility bills” and “budgeting” and “math”. And rather than try to make sense of that nonsense, I instead have a sudden urge to do my husband’s laundry. Brilliant!
Ads that made you want hair stuff.
Take that, stupid girl in my 2nd grade class with the beautiful, long, thick, shiny hair that I never had. That’s what you get for being perfect. Have fun with your Guess jeans and your Homecoming dance and your head lice.
It’s hard for me make sense of this primitive 1970s sexual banter. Does “JACKPOT” mean “Let’s head to Vegas to elope,” does it mean “I’m getting lucky tonight” or does it mean “It seems I’ve effectively covered up the pot I just smoked in the back of Jerry’s Camaro ten minutes before my date with Tad.”
This ad is beyond brilliant. I’m certain that after wrapping up this one, the ad executives slapped each other on the backs and clinked a few Double Old-Fashioneds together. You see why it’s so compelling, don’t you? After reading this, you don’t really know what “sexy” is anymore, do you? They try to tell you the right side is sexy. But I’m not so sure that it isn’t the left side. The man in the glasses is trying to tell me it’s neither side. Oh, I don’t know what you are, sexy. And if I buy this stuff, maybe I’ll no longer care.
Thank you, Vintage Ad Browser, for providing such a delightful library of magazine ads from my childhood that at one time actually made me want to buy stuff.