Vintage Thanksgiving Ads

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for how far the advertising industry has come in the past century.

You need proof? You got it.

Let’s start with this Quaker Oats ad all the way back from 1905.

This ad reminds us that the only important thing in this life is health. What a great, uplifting message. Because we know if you’re not in perfect health your life is meaningless . . . right. Personally, I have never been thankful for Quaker Oats and that oatmeal mush of theirs. But they have stuck to the William Penn thing all these years, so good for them for being so consistent.

Next, an ad for General Telephone System (what?).

Wikipedia tells me the company is now “defunct,” and it’s easy to see why after looking at this ad.

336 Thanksgivings ago . . . the Pilgrims were eaten by a giant man in a red shirt, apparently. Who knew Paul Bunyan existed back in those days? Oh, the things we learn from advertisements!

Another ad, this time from Ocean Spray, also makes false assumptions about the Pilgrims. If only they knew how American society has abused and misused their namesake all these years later . . .

I would like to see the proof that the Pilgrims did in fact eat cranberries at the first Thanksgiving. And notice the use of “women” in the second paragraph. I guess men didn’t cook back in the 1950s.

Way to go, copywriter, for cramming in THREE recipes on this ad! That’s gotta be a record of some sort. Not that anyone will be able to read them without a magnifying glass . . .

Lastly, nothing says “Thanksgiving” like smoking a cigarette. Or at least that’s what Camel wants/wanted you to believe.

Isn’t this pictorial progression of Thanksgiving dinner so helpful? It’s like a roadmap of sorts that guides us through each course so we know what we’re seeing in each picture since we don’t have eyes, apparently.

This is both hilarious and disturbing. I’ve always thought the amount of smoking on Mad Men was excessive, but this ad really does show how much people smoked in the 50’s and 60’s. Seriously, a cigarette after each course? And to think that Camel was telling people it was good for their digestive fluids! I love/hate how their food editor recommends leaving a pack of smokes on your dinner table to keep you company at all times. Gross. Camel forgot to mention that everyone who read this ad is now dead.

It kind of makes you wonder what we’re doing today that will kill us all on 50 years.

And on that happy note, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


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