Ads #64:1974

Ahhh.  Remember when credit cards were for emergencies? Things have completely reversed - most people these days keep cash in their wallet in case of emergency; the credit card is the primary means of purchase.  What happened?

Wait. Don't answer that.  That's a whole can of worms.  Instead, just sit back and enjoy some more ads from 1974.

In the seventies, there was no shortage of "direct selling" opportunities for women.  While the vacuum cleaner salesman and the encyclopedia salesman had become anachronisms of direct selling, the women's market was in full bloom.  A lot of wives still didn't work back then, so you had a surplus of eager ladies to make a few bucks and have a "party" in the process.  Tupperware and Avon were the biggies, but there were others such as the one above - Sarah Coventry Jewelry (which closed down its direct sales in 1984).

One thing that stands out from these old ads is how matter-of-fact and simplistic they appear.  Today's ads are so laced with irony and self-awareness that this next drain cleaner ad seems comically direct.

It's sort of a hard thing to explain: old advertising was more basic - just the product and why you need it.  Throw in some testimonials, maybe some cheesecake, and BAM an ad is born.  Not to take away from it - indeed, it's probably more difficult to market a product under those parameters.  Nowadays, with a breed of consumers that are much more jaded, cynical and savvy, simplistic advertising just doesn't cut it.  Ethel's testimonial just seems laughable.

In 1974, the rage was really long hair.  To capitalize on the phenomenon, Clairol released the Long & Silky shampoo and conditioner.  I don't know how long it lasted, but the product was shilled in nearly every teen magazine you can find from that year.

Sweet Lord that woman is red Somebody get her to a doctor!

I swear I'm going to do an entire post on this composition: the rock steady dude with fawning girl behind him.  It's repeated so damn many times in advertising it's insane.

Hard to imagine a world before combos.  Back then people actually just ordered a Coke and a Big Mac... no fries. (gasp!)

Well, all this talk has gotten me hungry and my Pavlovian response to images of fast food is in full effect.  Gotta go.


  1. Ah, the year of my birth. Great to see what pop culture was like when I first entered the world. It's come a long way!

  2. And no supersizing the 6 ounce cup of coke for that Big Mac either!

  3. Back in the 60s, we'd eat a single hamburger (15c) order of fries (12c and very small) and a small drink (10c-no refills). That was lunch for under 45 cents. Today, when I see a kid eat a Big Mac and large sugary drink, I'm not surprised at how big he is. He's probably going home to watch TV.

  4. Bernie MadoffApril 13, 2013

    A credit card today is the worst way to borrow cash. I looked at a credit card flyer today. Borrowing money costs 25% interest!

  5. Yeah, I pity people who don't or can't pay off the entire balance when they get their credit card bill. Thankfully we also have debit cards, so that isn't a problem. And thanks for the MasterCharge ad, Gilligan.

    The Power Drain ad shows another mostly lost trait; women using their husband's name, e.g. Mrs. Jonas Grumby. It's actually kinda funny that it lasted so long, but I miss it.

    Big Macs should only be eaten by lumberjacks and big dumb jocks. There, I said it.

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  7. I get odd responses now, the few times I DO go thru a drive-thru ,and when I do, I ask for ONLY a drink, or ONLY the smallest burger!

    "Not a cheeseburger?"

    "No cheese, please!"

    "Not a combo?!"

    "No, thank you!"


    Al Bigley

  8. Great ads Gill! Just to note: On November 4th of this year it will be my 10th anniversary since the last time I ate or entered a McD's (or any other FF restaurant) Damn! It just isn't food!

  9. I love the cartoony look of the Master Charge ad.

    When I saw "Mother Please!" I thought it was going to be a feminine hygiene product ad. I always shy away from those, they embarrass me.

    McDonalds didn't even put fries in the ad! That's wild to think about.