As we grow older, there’s always the refrain of the ‘good old days’ we start spouting. (I’m beginning to spout some of it already). Do aging advertisiers too yearn for the good old days? When it was still about a TV commercial and the odd press ad, and not have to bother with newspangled methods like polite banners, local SEO and corporate blogging? A time when one didn’t have to walk on eggshells about not offending minority groups or women, could freely use babies in ads and openly show that smoking was cool?
I remeber a time when washing powder was of, for and by women (remember Lalitaji?) and financial services were handled by men entirely (I remember a TVC from the early 90s in which a woman had to pawn off her mangalsutra because her husband did not buy life insurance before he died. It seemed to imply that a woman was completely hopeless and helpless without a man.) Here are a few iconic ads (mostly American), which could never, ever be made today.
You can’t advertise the product today, and forget about the messaging.
Could you issue this ad today? Babies promoting smoking?
This very iconic ad of the 50s and 60s would be completely taboo today.
And this would get you sued in I-don’t-know-how-many countries for racism.
So were those the good old days after all? They were creative, yes; persuasive, yes; and popular, yes. But they were the type that told a woman her position in society, told non-white people they were unclean and made smoking look cool and healthy. There’s no way the Advertising Standards Council would pass them today.
For forty-four more ads like this, each iconic in its time and yet completely unacceptable today, do look up OWNI.EU’s blogpost here.