35 Politically Incorrect Historic Advertisements That Will Make You Cringe

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In the first half of the 1900s television was a budding technology. Marketing and advertisement for new products were mainly spread over radio and in print. Radio advertising left much to be desired because the lack of ability to utilize catchy and colorful images to grab the potential client’s attention.

Print advertisement was the most effective way to market a product. These print ads were as experiential as contemporary television commercials, with long descriptions and often stories purported to keep the reader’s attention for as long as possible and leave a lasting impression.

It is notable that the ad campaigns were not politically correct as the current market demands and were firmly rooted in the extent traditional gender roles.

“Doctors Prove Palmolive Soap Can Bring You A Lovelier Complexion in 14 days!” Palmolive Soap advertisement published in True Confessions Magazine, 1950. Duke Library
“I learned from a beauty expert how to hold my husband- and why so many women fail” Palmolive Soap advertisement published in Woman’s Home Companion, 1932. Duke Library
“Would your husband marry you again” Palmolive Soap advertisement published in Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, 1921. Duke Library
Advertisement form Elizabeth Arden Basic Essentials published in Vogue Magazine, 1953. Duke Library
Advertisement for Beauty Counselors published in Vogue Magazine, 1950. Duke Library
Barbasol Sanitary Beard Softener advertisement published in Life Magazine, 1949. Duke Library
Canadian Pacific Trans-Atlantic advertisement. in Collier’s Magazine. 1947. Duke Library
Chevrolet magazine advertisement for War Bonds and Stamps marketing high achievement in the production of war materials in The Saturday Evening Post. 1943
CotyTan Liquid Powder advertisement published in the New York Daily News, 1929. Duke Library
General Electric advertisement for the Ultra-Vision Television, published in Life Magazine, 1952. Duke Library
Greyhound Bus Magazine Advertisement, 1946. Duke Library
Jergens advertisement for Dryad Cream Deodorant published in Life Magazine, 1948. Duke Library
Keep Your Beauty on Duty, Magazine advertisement by Proctor & Gamble Co. for Ivory Soap. 1942. Duke Library
Magazine advertisement for the Great Northern Railway Company’s New Empire Builder Train, 1946
Magazine Advertisement for Boncilla Cosmetics published in Canadian Home Journal, 1925. Duke Library
Marilyn Monroe Discovers The World’s Most Glamorous Make-up…From The Westmores of Hollywood, marketing the Tru-Glo Liquid make-up in Life Magazine, 1952. Duke Library