London Fog duck-feature


Throwback Thursday: ads of the 60s

Another week, another look back at classic ads from a bygone decade. This Throwback Thursday, we’re all about the 60s: the decade of revolution, flamboyance, sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. So what was going down in Ad Land while the youth was busy battling racism, sexism and homophobia? Mainly selling cars, 60s fashion and ridiculous convenience food. Here goes nothing.

Gordon’s: bird of prey

How did a man holding a bird of prey come to appear in a Gordon’s vodka poster? Is that man called Gordon and is that his pet hawk? Or is the hawk called Gordon? We can but guess. What we do know is that this ad appeared in Business Insider’s worst men’s magazine ads of the 60s, and may well be the reason nobody ever drinks Gordon’s vodka – the unexplained hawk association probably blew a few too many minds.

Gordon's vdoka
Source: Gordon’s/Business Insider

Fiat: equal rights

Now, had this ad appeared in the 50s, the text might have read something like: ‘He wants a car. She doesn’t. Oh well, she can go and make a stew and shut up about it.’ Thankfully, the 60s saw the emergence of gender equality via second-wave feminism. Phew. In any case, it’s a simple and effective ad, although pretty unrealistic – who goes to buy a car and casually ends up buying two?

Credit: Fiat/Pinterest

VW bus: star salesman

This advert is painful: reading it feels like being slapped on the back by a greasy-haired estate agent wearing an oversized tie. But, despite the sexist overtones, the copy itself is kind of great. Just like it is on all their extremely patronising but very well-written VW camper van ads. So confusing.

Credit: VW/Pinterest

McDonald’s: fancy dinner

A burger. For $0.25. Jesus. Suffice to say, the 60s continued the West’s love affair with convenience everything – laundry, transport, food, you name it. This rather grand depiction of the golden arches against a playful night sky with an impossibly large car in the foreground is a little generous – but who can argue with the promise of ‘wonderful hamburgers’?

Credit: McDonald’s/Pinterest

Yardley: those lashes

If there’s one thing that’s synonymous with 60s style, it’s Twiggy’s face. More specifically, Twiggy’s huge doe eyes. This ad typifies the style of the decade and suggests all girls can look like Twiggy with these lashes – ‘all of which should cost you a lot more than $5.50. But doesn’t.’

Credit: Yardley/Pinterest

Right Guard: aggressive deodorant

Whoa there, Right Guard! Chill out. If this advert was intended to make readers sweat with stress, then they’ve nailed it. Aside from the arresting copy, the can of deodorant looks more like WD40 than anything I’d feel comfortable spraying on my armpits. All in all, an unpleasant viewing experience.

Right Guard deode
Credit: Right Guard/Pinterest

London Fog: duck in a raincoat

London Fog featured in an episode of Mad Men that got a lot of people talking about how London Fog’s ads used to be good but aren’t anymore. Ouch. Anyway, this famous one from Gilbert Advertising actually managed to make the the subject of raincoat acrylic interesting. Hats off.

London Fog duck
Credit: London Fog/Business Insider

Armour: ribs in a can

This can’t have happened…can it? (Sorry.)

Credit: Armour/Pinterest

Mustang: get a past

It’s pretty brazen of Mustang to tell its customers that they should buy one of their cars in order to validate their very existence. They might as well just say, ‘If you don’t buy one of these, you might as well just kill yourself now.’ A lovely lesson in how not to talk to customers – also that couple playing the guitar in the bottom left is just weird.

Credit: Mustang/Pinterest

Tuppaware: party time

We’ve got nothing against those famous airtight containers, but a whole Tuppaware party with extremely excited women screaming at each other through the window? That’s just too much. Someone get these women some alcohol!

Credit: Tuppaware/Pinterest

So what did we miss? Any you particularly loved or hated? Tune in next week to see our top 10 ads of the 70s.