Outrageous Food Ads From the Past

In today’s world, there is certainly no shortage of exaggerated, erroneous, and often idiotic marketing strategies used to sell unhealthy foods to the public. Indeed, our fellow Canadian obesity blogger, Yoni Freedhoff of Weighty Matters has  chronicled many such attempts of badvertising.

While the situation is far from ideal at the moment, it is important to realize that many food ads of years passed were much, MUCH worse.

Today, we’ll take a look at some of the most outrageous food ads from the American past.

Long before words like “unsweetened” and “artificial sweeteners” and “low carb diets” became fashionable, sugar was glorified as a diet aid:

Diet dodge? According to this sweet propaganda, “sugar can be the willpower you need to undereat.”

That’s correct: just have an ice cream before each meal – that’s sure to reduce your calories!

Remember, sugar is “only 18 calories per teaspoon, and it’s all energy.”

I hope you’re not vegetarian, as this next little number advertising some sort of meat product is a tad disturbing.

I call this one “Pork Harakiri.”

“We eat with pleasure and without effort.”

Well I guess so, if the poor little pig prepares himself, as displayed on the ad.

Advertising junk food to kids is absolutely appalling, but these two ads should convince you that things are at least getting better.

Infants are supposed to drink breast milk exclusively for the first 6 months of life. From then on, they should be continued to be breastfed while supplemental foods are slowly introduced.

Sugary pop is not recommended for consumption by babies at any stage – no matter how palatable the fizzy syrup may be to the little guy.

Not so according to Coca-Cola!

Apparently, mothers should do away with that whole breastfeeding nonsense, and hand their infant a cold bottle of Coke!

How soon is too soon? Not soon enough, suggest this brilliantly preposterous ad.

Not sure if you knew this, but Coke does the following for a growing baby:

  • Promotes an active lifestyle
  • Boosts personality
  • Gives body essential sugars

If that wasn’t crazy enough for you, just read the fine print below.

Have a great Monday!

Peter

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The Outrageous Food Ads From the Past by Obesity Panacea, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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8 Responses to Outrageous Food Ads From the Past

  1. Tracy says:

    Oh MY! The text on those ads is disturbing. It’s nice to see that some things haven’t changed and even then we were playing some nice games with our wording “Laboratory Tests over the last few years have proven”

    Keep fighting the good fight.

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  2. Naomi says:

    The bottom ad is a deliberate, Photoshopped *parody.* Which maybe be what you meant by “read the fine print below,” but…

    http://rjwhite.tumblr.com/post/472668874/fact-checking

    has the story.

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  3. Thanks for that link Naomi! I would like to pretend like I knew it was a joke, but I’ll admit that I’ve been duped. Makes me wonder if the others are also not real. Oh well, good for a laugh either way:)

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  4. khan says:

    That first ad was real (about sugar curbing your appetite).

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  5. LKL says:

    There are sodas being produced now that are plastered with the advertisement, ‘Made With Real Cane Sugar,’ because sugar is now perceived as healthy when compared to HFCS.

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  6. Maryn says:

    Re the ice cream one: I remember seeing, in a stash of magazines my grandparents had kept, ads about sugar “resetting your appestat.” The idea was to treat sugar (in a food or pure) as a diet aid. Closest I can come via Google is:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=9VMEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA101&lpg=PA101&dq=ad+sugar+eat+teaspoon+of+sugar+appestat&source=bl&ots=RuCv0fNaOa&sig=jCrwe6Gxj6ckQIfr3R7ZrDLILdA&hl=en&ei=n1XGTPW6EIifnQfp6q2mAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    and

    http://community.livejournal.com/vintage_ads/1313845.html

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  7. Carlie says:

    Yikes – I’m surprised (but not) that the first ad was specifically advertising “undereating”. Not “controlling your intake”, or “watching what you eat” or “eat just enough”, just flat-out “don’t eat as much as you ought to”.

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  8. Adela says:

    Parody or not I’ve seen enough antique ads to know it isn’t all that far from the mark.

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