Noupe Editorial Team January 12th, 2021

Good old days? Think again: 65 Best and Worst Vintage Advertisement Examples That Will Both Inspire and Annoy You

coca cola Vintage advertisement

Ever wondered what was the first advertisements all about and how did it all begin? It all goes back to the 16th and 17th centuries when the first newspapers and magazines were published.

The printed advertisements for books and medicines represented the earliest forms of vintage advertisements featured in simple newspaper listings. Since then modern advertising began to take its final form embracing technology and new innovative ways. 

We live in a world that revolves around marketing. How you present your brand, product or service is a big deal when it comes to impressing buyers. Being able to offer an incentive that your audience can’t resist and your competitors can’t manage to achieve is a promise that’s hard to go overlooked. Since the only means of reaching customers is advertising, a careful combination of an effective advertising strategy, being able to convey a valuable message, and being visually appealing is what drives considerable business results. 

time-lapse photography of crowd of people on New York Time square during night time
Credit: Joe Yates

Your product or service may be the best in the market yet that doesn’t mean much if nobody knows about it. That is why you need to find a way to build a connection with your potential customers in order to create awareness for your product or service and to increase your sales.

There is no question that advertising is the most potent determinant that has the ability to shape consumer behaviors and tendencies but was it always in the form we get exposed to today? Of course not. The components and characteristics of vintage advertisements were quite different and also bizarre compared to today’s modern Superbowl ads.

super bowl ads
Photo via Mountain Dew/YouTube

Vintage advertisements were colorful, catchy, yet sometimes offensive and sexist. They are also known for promoting unhealthy habits like smoking by featuring babies in cigarette ads and incentivizing drinking sodas as early as possible, we’re talking about infants sipping Coca-Cola and 7 Up. Other striking signature components of vintage advertisements are having very long, storylike copies, funny slogans, large, bold headlines, and using bright vintage color palettes.

Sure, the clothes and hairstyles were nice and people looked cooler in vintage ads but they were also sexist, racist, and offensive. That is why we’ve handpicked an interesting collection of vintage advertisement examples that worked on our grandparents. It’s true that now we live in a world where you can’t say anything without someone getting offended. But we must warn you, some of these ads are nothing like that. Get ready to see some absurdly offensive ads that you won’t believe were real.

Best and Worst Vintage Advertisement Examples

vintage vespa advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage shoe ad
Source: Bored Panda
vintage camel ad
Source: Bored Panda
vintage ketchup advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
hersheys.cocoa advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
Buy Your Apples by the Case vintage advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage canada dry advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage chlorodent advertisement
Source: Pinterest
vintage nail polish advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage Georges DOLA La Chauve-Souris poster
Photo Credit: Galerie bei der Oper
vintage fun center advertisement
Source: Pinterest
Binaca Toothpaste advertising poster
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage rowntree's fruit gums advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage amolin advertisement
Source: Pinterest
vintage lucky start cigarette advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
Ted Williams Coca-Cola Advertising Poster
Photo Credit: Rockhurst Auctions
vintage rinso advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage deese advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage marlboro advertisement
Source: Pinterest
vintage seameal dessert advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage pontiac advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage chlorinol advertisement
Source: Pinterest
coca cola vintage advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage Grant's advertisement
Source: Pinterest
vintage electrolux advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage Wilson's Maltexo advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage Mr. Leggs advertisement
Source: Pinterest
vintage coca cola advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage vaking powder advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage femicin advertisement
Source: Pinterest
vintage Budweiser advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
Nicolas: Nectar and Glou-Glou poster
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage advertisement in construction news
Source: Pinterest
vintage coke advertisement with santa and kids
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage shopping for shoes  advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
 vintage advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage Bellardi Vermouth  advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage 7up  advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage Charcuterie on a Board  advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage Knorrox brand bouillon print  advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage Campbell's  advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage pears' soap  advertisement
Photo Credit: Understanding Slavery
vintage Café, Rio de Janeiro  advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage budweiser  advertisement 2
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage B. Kupfer & Co. Compressed Yeast advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage hoover vacuum  advertisement
Source: Pinterest
Contre-Douleurs Vintage Advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage colgate advertisement
Source: Pinterest
Vintage Bata Boots advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage Geroba cold remedies poster
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage coca cola advertisement
Source: Pinterest
vintage advertisement
Source: Pinterest
vintage Chocolat Klaus  advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage sega advertisement
Source: Spectacled Marketer
vintage Van Houten's Cocoa print  advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage Mum advertisement
Source: Pinterest
vintage The Horseshoe English and American Bar advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage honda advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage Chubbettes advertisement
Source: Pinterest
Drummond Natural Leaf Smoking Tobacco
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage shampoo advertisement
Source: Pinterest
Rayon d'Or Advertisement
Photo Credit: Vintagraph
vintage tea advertisement
Source: Spectacled Marketer
vintage chevrolet advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo
vintage delta advertisement
Source: Pinterest
vintage career club advertisement
Photo Credit: Design Modo

Techniques and strategies used in the advertising industry came a long way since the 17th-century and advertisements underwent a noticeable evolution over the years. Even though advertising approaches have refined in the digital age, consumers still expect the same sentiments from advertisements today. While their audience craves a sense of emotional connection, and trust, advertisers are trying to build this connection by using vintage advertisement elements. Apart from some controversial and offensive examples, vintage advertisements managed to draw consumers in with techniques that are still useful today. In spite of negative connotations, there is still a lot modern advertisers can learn from vintage advertisements of the past.

These vintage advertisement examples gave us one good resource for design inspiration by setting out the basics of successful visual design. Some simply evoked our curiosity by being politically incorrect, weird, and shockingly offensive; whereas some were just interesting to look at and visually appealing.

Tell us in the comment section your favorite one and the ones that annoyed you the most. Share your opinion on why you think a brand would present itself in such offensive ways, why advertisers think that these would be successful and why buyers fell for them in the first place. 

Noupe Editorial Team

The jungle is alive: Be it a collaboration between two or more authors or an article by an author not contributing regularly. In these cases you find the Noupe Editorial Team as the ones who made it. Guest authors get their own little bio boxes below the article, so watch out for these.

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