10 Psychotic Old Ads That Basically Sold Child Abuse
Aside from dentures and kids on lawns, one of the top things for old people to complain about is that their kids never call or visit. Well, if they raised their children anything like the parents in these old-timey ads did, they shouldn't be surprised in the goddamn slightest.
Please, Don't Beat Your Kids If They're Constipated
For centuries, people have debated the merits of varying kinds of disciplinary actions for children. Often, all anyone can agree on is that it depends on the severity of misdeed of the child in question. Did he break his sister's toy? Did she push some other A-hole tot off a bike? IS HE SIMPLY CONSTIPATED???
If the latter is the case, look no further than Castoria: The Safe Laxative for Children. Thank heavens for Castoria, because prior to this miracle junior turd facilitator, the only solution for bowel irregularity was a good old-fashioned whooping with a hairbrush.
"Worked for the dog, didn't it? I don't see him havin' any more accidents!"
"You punted the dog off the balcony ..."
Fortunately for little Johnny Junior up there, his mother has a pal named Doris who discovered the wonders of Castoria. So yeah, she saves her poor son from a father who was going to attempt to literally beat the shit out of him. Better yet, if you send in a postcard, they'll give you a silver spoon for your child, so they can have a regular reminder of those halcyon days before Castoria, when a dinner without fiber meant they were going to sleep in the yard.
Blatz Beer Encouraged Drinking (And Breastfeeding)
In case anyone was wondering about the origin of Prohibition in America, we'll hazard a guess that it was an overreaction to terrible ads like this one. But during the early 1900s, the brain trust at Blatz noticed there was a key demographic nobody was targeting: babies.
The only problem was that babies don't really have much in the way of money, so how could they
develop a crippling addiction enjoy a cold one in moderation? Why, by drinking it alongside breast milk, of course! The logic was simple: Mom drinks, so baby drinks. Mom has two boobs, so surely one of them can be turned into a biological kegerator.
"Some Kind Of Doctor, MD, says so!"
Blatz's website doesn't mention this ad in their History section, probably because they're waiting for some lobby-funded doctor somewhere to prove that Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is caused by literally anything other than alcohol. What makes this weird is that people are still debating today about the efficacy of beer in stimulating breast milk production. The truth is that there is a polysaccharide in the barley used to brew beer that does just that, but also beer and babies simply don't mix.
Today, Blatz is under the Pabst corporate umbrella, so if we could keep the hipster crowd from finding a way to make breast-milk-based craft porters, that'd be fantastic.
Pears' Soap Is Violent (And Racist)
The only creatures that might hate baths more than human children are dogs, and at least a dog will still love you after it's all dried off. This poor child, on the other hand, gave his poor mother enough of a hard time that she apparently tried to literally throw the baby out with the bathwater. Still, he's being crushed to death by a bathtub. That's the kind of unrealistic death that shows up in a Looney Toons episode, not a goddamned soap ad.
To make matters worse, the folks over in the advertising department at Pears' were probably pretty racist. They borrowed this idea that people with darker skin tones were simply dirty, and needed a good old scrubbing down, preferably with Pears' Soap.
"Pears' Soap: IT SOLVES RACISM!"
It would be one thing entirely if this was something that only stuck around in the boonies down in Georgia, but Pears' makes a point to put "SOLD EVERYWHERE" in boldface underneath this wholly unnecessary Before/After photo. This photo is also inaccurate in that if you were to scrub a child so hard that his skin changed color, it would have turned red with blood. (Also, in this scenario, you are probably a father in a Castoria ad.)
To make matters worse, Pears' doesn't just stick to the physically impossible notion that melanin can wash off you. No, they move full speed ahead into some Imperial-England-grade White Savior Complex.
"My secret herbs and spices? There are none. You're eating racist soap."
DC-8 Allows Underdressed Little Girls Near Airfields Alone
From the mind of the guy who designed Esquire Magazine's final pin-up calendar comes ... an airline advertisement? Let's take a look at the situation these little girls have found themselves in, because it's not pleasant.
First of all, it's cold enough outside that the adults near the plane are wearing trench coats, and these little girls are wearing coats but no pants. How are they not freezing their underage knees off?
On that note, the photographer here is being very unnecessarily suggestive. Shooting photographs of women "from the ground up" is one thing when they're adult models. It's another thing entirely when they're children.
If you've ever wondered what an Old-Timey Creepshot Tumblr would look like, here you go.
Second, where are their parents? Are they getting on that plane without their children? Kevin McAllister was a nobody compared to these poor kids. At least he had a coat.
Jimmy's Got A Gun
"One of these days, Mother ..."
This appears to be part of a long-standing war between Jimmy and his blissfully oblivious mother, and in this scenario, it's unclear who is in more danger. This kid has clearly never been taught how to use a firearm safely, because he's got a finger on the trigger. If he's currently pulling that pistol (pun 100 percent not intended) out of his Whitey Bulger-Tighteys, it almost certainly means he's going to be taking aim at his mother.
If he's currently holstering, that raises a few more questions, primarily pertaining to how he obtained that gun in the first place. We also need to question the quality of the elastic in that underwear. If they truly "keep their fit," then there's a much higher chance of accidentally triggering that weapon.
It could of course be a toy, but you look at those eyes.
It ain't a toy.
The ad was published in Women's Home Companion, but it doesn't seem to be aimed at women at all. A small boy running around with an underwear gun is a mother's nightmare.
"DDT Is Good For Me!"
Half a century ago, our relationship with DDT was a lot like the Prohibitionist movement. It sounded like a good idea to people who had no idea how mass production works, and in reality it was making everything worse. It takes time to determine the long-term effects of the chemical compounds we gleefully stuff into our faces, and who indiscriminately stuffs the most things into their faces? Babies, that's who.
The big problem here is that smack dab in the middle of this ad for bug poison is a large baby being fed from a bottle. If that mother had been doing what the ad had been saying and spraying DDT like it was her Chanel No. 5, that baby's probably got a couple of years before mutating into that creepy apple sapien.
Not sure it's a good idea to advertise that your chemical product is enjoyed by anthropomorphic monstrosities
that violate the laws of God and man, but that's why we're not marketers.
As luck would have it, a huge clue that DDT and food probably shouldn't mix actually comes from the ad itself. Pennsalt used to deal in, well, salt. Unfortunately, they weren't very good at it, so they ended up switching to aviation fuel, bleach, and other things you shouldn't put in your mouth.
Related: 5 Streams That Went Horribly Wrong
Lead Paint Is the Best Paint for Dutch Children
Lead paint, aside from being an occupational hazard for the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition cast and crew, is apparently a common thing to give Dutch children to play with. So common, in fact, was this heavy metal that there is a whole band of lead-filled items that this poor little Dutch boy had to paint with.
We're told that this is the Dutch Boy's Lead Party, which is rather sad when you think about it. There are no other children at the Lead Party, presumably because they all died of lead poisoning. Instead, he's forced to hang out with a light bulb, a plate, a nutcracker, and a shoe. Where's the shoe's partner? Probably dead due to lead poisoning.
Or the cocaine that plate was clearly serving earlier.
Boil The Baby
The folks responsible for this ad for natural gas were doing great until they decided to make a baby the centerpiece of their campaign. That baby, barely bigger than a dish towel in the first place, is sweating to death out of every one of its little pores. His little eyes are a cyanide-colored cry for help.
They could have tempted us with a delicious pot of instant coffee. Hell, they could have even gone the whole "sex sells" route and put that playboy Earl Warren up there. Hot water is awesome, and we're lucky to have it. It's great for cooking, showering, and certain kinks we won't get into.
Boiling makes hard things squishy, and squishy things fall apart. Babies are squishy. Don't boil them.
This is the album cover you get when you buy Nirvana's Nevermind in Hell.
Related: Nice Try, Baby Sonic.
Caffeine Destroys Families
If you could fuck decaf coffee, it would pokes holes in the condoms, as it leaves you groggy and miserable after what is supposed to be a pleasant-enough experience. The objective of these ads is to prove to the public that if they don't switch to decaf, parents will commit murder-suicide in the living room after beating their children senseless, which is sort of what normal coffee is supposed to prevent in the first place.
We must have missed the episodes of Mad Men where Don gives his child-beating presentations to clients.
Caffeine-free Sanka Coffee blames caffeine for everything from dad's weird, chronic night-wandering to his abusive tendencies. Basically, if you live in the '60s and your dad is an abusive maniac, all you can do is replace his coffee with Sanka (or something more clinically proven, like methadone) and pray.
Baby Male Strippers Sell Karo Sweetener
What's as sweet as Karo syrup? Apparently, a cherubic toddler dressed like the bastard child of Magic Mike and the Bride of Chucky. These ads are like Victoria's Secret for pedophiles. If anyone today wanted to use a naked child with dapper hats and collars to sell sweeteners, the FBI would break their doors down.
"Each bottle comes with a free brochure for Miracle Village, Florida!"
Chucky Tatum over here isn't doing a great job of selling Karo with his little bum. The target demographic here is mothers, who (so we've heard) kind of hate it when naked baby bottoms get around food. But somewhere down the line, someone decided to add a layer of creepy by sharing the Karo Kid's love for his mother with us.
"Karo makes food more Oedipal-- uh, edible."
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