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Shocking Vintage Advertisements: Ads Targeting Parents That Would Never Appear Today

Vintage Ads

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 10/04/11 05:36 PM ET Updated: 10/24/11 07:17 PM ET

Sometimes there is just too much scary news for parents -– there’s arsenic in apple juice, SpongeBob will rot your child’s brain and play areas are infested with germs. Here at HuffPost Parents, we're wondering what it was like to live in an era of non-worry. A time when June Cleaver and Carol Brady solved any dilemma in 26 minutes.

So, we turned the clock back and opened up an issue of Parents magazine from 1952 for clarity. And, what caught our eye were the ads. For one, a campaign for laxatives that makes them look like candy. Then, we looked a little further and found that marketing history was rich with crazy -- and it was the boost of confidence we needed. If you feel guilty for giving your kids too much sugar, or for letting them watch TV for too long… relax. At least you’re not feeding 7UP to a newborn..

Take a look at these eyebrow-raising ads that would never make it into magazines today, and (ahhh) breathe a sigh of relief.

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  • You choose stuffed animals, not guns

    Regardless of what side of the gun control debate you're on, we can all agree that guns aren't welcome during naptime. (Iver Johnson, 1904 via <a href="http://www.everydaynodaysoff.com/2009/11/27/iver-johnson-revolvers/" target="_hplink">everydaynodaysoff.com</a>)

  • You keep razors far, far away

    To avoid that five o'clock shadow, for dad, Gillette might be 'the best a man can get.' But for a baby, a razor doesn't come into play for another 15 years or so. (Although, if your newborn has a beard, you may have bigger problems...) (Gillette, 1905 via <a href="http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-1905-gillette-safety-razor-babys-first" target="_hplink">worthpoint.com</a>)

  • You know there is no such thing as a "bad" baby

    No matter how loud the cry, or how few hours of sleep you get, you wouldn't classify your baby as anything less than the best. (Clapps' Baby Foods, 1943 via <a href="http://www.vintageadsandstuff.com/viewfoodbaby1.jpeg" target="_hplink">vintageadsandstuff.com</a>)

  • You take deep breaths of fresh air, not nicotine, when you're stressed around the baby

    How could you "scold" a baby in a top hat anyway? (Marlboro, 1950s via <a href="http://www.vintageadbrowser.com/kids-and-babies-ads-1950s" target="_hplink">vintageadbrowser.com</a>)

  • You're not sugar-coating laxatives

    This ad suggests feeding your child a laxative that he or she will enjoy, but today's parents know that there is no such thing. (Castoria, 1952 via Parents Magazine)

  • You load 'em up with SPF

    Oil? In the sun? And, what's that baby doing in the pool without floaties? (Johnson's, 1956 via <a href="http://www.vintageadsandstuff.com/viewhealthjohnson2.html" target="_hplink">vintageadsandstuff.com</a>)

  • You're not wrapping babies in cellophane

    While the sentiment is nice, babies are the greatest gifts, we prefer them wrapped in cozy blankets -- and breathing. (Dupont, 1959, via <a href="http://consumerist.com/2009/07/top-10-ironic-ads-from-history.html" target="_hplink">consumerist.com</a>)

  • You know your girls can hang with the boys

    Despite <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/31/jc-penneys-girls-shirt_n_943349.html" target="_hplink">outrageous</a> slip-ups from <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/12/allergic-to-algebra-forever-21-shirt_n_959063.html" target="_hplink">retail</a> stores, gone are the days when science and math were for the boys. Your little brainiac doesn't need a lab kit specialized for her. (Gilbert, 1958 via <a href="http://pzrservices.typepad.com/vintageadvertising/vintage_advertising_to_children/page/2/" target="_hplink">pzrservices.typepad.com</a>)

  • You don't encourage sugar addiction

    As the Rabbit is reminded, Trix are for kids. But, you know when to put a cap on the intake. (Trix, 1959 via <a href="http://carlifrenneman.hubpages.com/hub/11-Vintage-Food-Ads-Featuring-Creepy-Soulless-Children" target="_hplink">carlifrenneman.hubpages.com</a>)

  • You choose milk over soda

    Just what a baby needs: Cavities before their teeth have even grown in. (7UP, 1960 via <a href="http://www.boredpanda.com/vintage-ads/" target="_hplink">boredpanda.com</a>)

  • You hold your baby

    According to Pampers, newborns didn't spend much time in their mother's arms back in 1974. According to us, the ad's writer didn't spend enough time with a new mommy. (Pampers, 1974 via <a href="http://www.ebay.com/itm/1974-Print-Ad-Pampers-Baby-Diapers-old-ads-/350319434572" target="_hplink">ebay.com</a>)

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