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Throwback Thursday: ads of the 70s

In the third of our Throwback Thursday Ad Land specials, it’s time to look at some classic ads of the 70s. According to miscellaneous 21st century historians, the decade marked a period of pivotal change around the world: industrialised countries underwent a huge economic recession due to the oil crisis, Margaret Thatcher got voted in, individualism began to take the place of communitarianism and colonialism was on its way out. And what about the world of advertising? Was it dealing with these issues head-on or still being a bit sexist and making cheesy TV ads? Let the list below help you decide. Oh, and this week, we’ve gone a bit fancy and included video clips. Get us.

Brut: Kevin Keegan and Henry Cooper

Prepare to snort into your tea. This is quite simply one of the most ridiculous sequences of footage ever made. If we were Keegan, we’d wake up in cold sweats in the middle of the night wondering how we let it happen. On another note, how great is that rowing machine? Looks like it’s about to either snap on half or take off. Shame it cuts so abruptly that we never find out what happens.

Cadbury’s Milk Tray: risk-taking chocolate gifter

This guy makes George Clooney in his Nespresso ads look like your grandad padding around in his slippers with his false teeth hanging out. Here’s a montage of extremely poor quality videos showing this hopeless romantic putting his life on the line from the late 60s to the early 80s – all because the lady loves.

Horton’s Furniture: justice

So there was a magazine founded in 1971 in the States called Ms Magazine. It asked women across the country to send in examples of where they’d encountered sexism in the media. Suffice to say, there are endless editions of the mag filled with some really horrifying examples – this one’s particularly good because it has the word ‘JUSTICE’ in nice big letters.

Horton's justice
Credit: St Petersburg/BuzzFeed

Slinky: a marvelous thing

This Slinky ad from across the pond made its way to our shores – well, the song did, at least. What’s most astonishing about this ad is how the children are furiously cheering their slinkies down the stairs as if they’re sentient beings. Perhaps they know something we don’t.

Cinzano: can’t you just smell those Italian wines?

Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins – what a dreamy combination. These Cinzano ads spanned five years and were a huge success, with Rossiter’s faux sophistication and unstoppable clumsiness the uniting themes.

People magazine: get in on the fun

As ads go, this one sounds a bit hysterical. At first glance, it looks like a retro dating service poster. On closer inspection, however, you’ll see Jack Nicholson and Dustin Hoffman peering out from those monochrome boxes, begging you to read all about their 70s gossip.

U.S. Commemoratives: excitement

Does this one really need an explanation?

Stamps
Credit: U.S. Commemoratives/Vintage Ad Browser

People magazine: get in on the fun

As ads go, this one sounds a bit hysterical. At first glance, it looks like a retro dating service poster. On closer inspection, however, you’ll see Jack Nicholson and Dustin Hoffman peering out from those monochrome boxes, begging you to read all about their 70s gossip.

People
Credit: People Weekly/Vintage Ad Browser

Cadbury’s Flake: only the crumbliest

This advert caused more than a little stir among viewers for its sexual connotations. The song is a classic and has led to a significant increase in brand recall even 55 years after the sexy Flake girl and her ‘Only the crumbliest’ line was unleashed upon the world.

R Whites: secret lemonade drinker

This advert is still kind of funny, plus it has Elvis Costello singing back-up vocals. We can’t imagine a midnight lemonade craving ourselves, but hey – this was the 70s.

British Rail: take a train

This advert is basically just Jeremy Clarkson and James May in disguise a couple of decades early. Also, whoever says ‘Take a train’ at the end sounds uncannily like Alan Partridge – so, obviously, we love it.

Tune in next week for some no doubt laughable ads from the 80s.