They say that you need to explore the past to understand the present. Like flipping through historic photos that change our perspective or discovering time-honored places and the stories behind them. Visuals help us get a sneak peek into moments that we have long forgotten or weren't even aware of. But there are some illustrations, like old-fashioned ads, that offer heaps of wisdom into how our attitudes were shaped and often get overlooked.

So get ready for a blast from the past because one corner on Reddit called 'Vintage Advertisements' is sharing plenty of hilarious and plain outrageous ads that didn’t age that gracefully. Members of this online community let us poke fun at past behaviors and remind us of all humanity has achieved in the last decades, and their efforts do not go unnoticed.

From "Get into Grunge!" to "Should you drink if you’re pregnant?", these ads prove that hindsight really is 20/20. We at Bored Panda have gathered some of their best examples and wrapped them up in one list, all for your entertainment. So continue scrolling and hit upvote on your favorite ones! And if you’ve ever stumbled upon ads that are simply begging to be ridiculed, we’d love to hear all about them in the comments below.

#1

Superman Against Racism/Discrimination Ad Circa 1950

Superman Against Racism/Discrimination Ad Circa 1950

__braveTea__ Report

Kris
Community Member
3 months ago

the anti-racism alien

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#2

LEGO (1981)

LEGO (1981)

superdankm8 Report

Nimues Child
Community Member
3 months ago

I love LEGO (the company) and their dedication to kids and education. I also still love playing with LEGOs...I still have my childhood set!!!

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#3

Bacardi Rum Ad, 1983

Bacardi Rum Ad, 1983

Unable-Airport-9121 Report

Nimues Child
Community Member
3 months ago

Tomatoes? What cocktail is this?

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With the tagline, "Ads from the past!", members of this online community are always on the lookout for lesser-known visuals that leave people amused, enraged, or simply pleasantly surprised. Over 107k old-fashioned advertising enthusiasts follow the group and always take the opportunity to share their thoughts and have discussions about the illustrations and how much the world has changed since they were created.

#4

Homosexuals Are Different, Mattachine Society Of New York, 1960

Homosexuals Are Different, Mattachine Society Of New York, 1960

Slow-moving-sloth Report

JoyfulZebra
Community Member
3 months ago

Amazingly progressive for the time

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#5

They All Got Vaccine Except Dad - Workbench Magazine - 1958

They All Got Vaccine Except Dad - Workbench Magazine - 1958

sir_rossington Report

Katie Lutesinger
Community Member
3 months ago

Poor bastard. People forget just how horrible it could get before vaccines became widely available. Whole wards full of kids in iron lungs, and graveyards full of tiny tombstones.

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#6

An Unusually Progressive Seagrams Ad, Circa 1970s

An Unusually Progressive Seagrams Ad, Circa 1970s

ofthrees Report

Saint Thomas
Community Member
3 months ago

This one is quite sensible, even if it comes from a company that produced alcohol. The final advice is sound.

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One of the main goals of advertising is to allow companies to get their message across and communicate with potential customers. After all, the world keeps evolving, and advertising is tagging along. It has become an essential part of our lives and, though some of us are afraid to even think about it, it’s carefully designed to speak to the hearts of the consumers and predict what our minds want. It taps into our hopes, dreams, goals, fears, and sometimes, it seems like it just keeps chasing us everywhere.

#7

Philips (Netherlands, 1951)

Philips (Netherlands, 1951)

ConsciousRhubarb Report

Jayne Kyra
Community Member
3 months ago

This is adorable!

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#8

Best Buy, 1999

Best Buy, 1999

TommyAdagio Report

Monic Krugell
Community Member
3 months ago

What a huge anti-climax that was!

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#9

American, 1885

American, 1885

vmcla Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
3 months ago

To be fair, it did take the pain away.

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But let’s take a step back, shall we? Interestingly, the first-ever advertisement was discovered in 3000 BC in the ruins of Thebes in Egypt. According to Sagar Joshi, a content marketing specialist, it was a Papyrus created by a slaveholder trying to find their runaway servant while promoting their weaving shop at the same time. "For news of his whereabouts half a gold coin is offered. And for his return to the shop of Hapu the Weaver, where the best cloth is woven to your desires, a whole gold coin is offered," the transcript states. Apparently, in ancient times, it was completely normal to simultaneously ask for help and try to boost your clothing sales.

#10

1978 Star Wars Vaccination Ad

1978 Star Wars Vaccination Ad

Paul-Belgium Report

Tybalt P.
Community Member
3 months ago

I actually like this one! It could help kids who are squeamish about getting poked be less stressed about it! Brave like Han! :)

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#11

Electricity Was New Once. These Signs Were Mostly In Hotel Rooms And Other Public Places

Electricity Was New Once. These Signs Were Mostly In Hotel Rooms And Other Public Places

Gwendolyn7777 Report

Chich
Community Member
3 months ago

I should print a few of these off to post here and there.

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#12

Jester Wools (1947, UK)

Jester Wools (1947, UK)

MetaHelvetica Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
3 months ago

Is this how people discover they are homosexual? A thoughtful aunt buys them a nice jumper, and once they wear it Shazaam! Gay!

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Ever since then, people promoted themselves and their craft through word of mouth or by making carved signs and flags. A few centuries passed, and the history of modern advertising actually began in the 1700s. As Joshi explains in his article, those days were the pre-internet age, so the only way for brands to communicate at that time was through outdoor and print ads.

"Direct advertising, which involves directly reaching out to potential customers, was considered an expensive option before the internet," he explained. "Many organizations preferred indirect advertising because it was more affordable. Indirect advertising dealt with promoting a product or service in a subtle way, without sounding too sales-y. For example, big signs and posters in front of a shop."

#13

1934 Ad By The ‘Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals’

1934 Ad By The ‘Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals’

onepersononeidea Report

SarahCC
Community Member
3 months ago

That you have to point out to people at all :(

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#14

Beauty Is More Then Skin Deep, Cordless Massager, Anthony Enterprises, 1971

Beauty Is More Then Skin Deep, Cordless Massager, Anthony Enterprises, 1971

Slow-moving-sloth Report

Kelly Jo
Community Member
3 months ago

They are still a top seller... especially for beginners. 😉

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#15

Volkswagen Beetle, 1965

Volkswagen Beetle, 1965

Slow-moving-sloth Report

James016
Community Member
3 months ago

The did a model of the Polo with this paint job called the Harlequin.

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In 1704, John Campbell started to distribute the Boston News-Letter, the first continuously issued newspaper in the United States. Soon after it started reaching the readers, one of the first newspaper ads appeared in the paper. According to a blog post on Softcube, it was a real estate advertisement selling a plantation on Oyster Bay, Long Island.

#16

"The Closest Some Of Us Will Ever Get To Heaven" -- World Trade Center (1980)

"The Closest Some Of Us Will Ever Get To Heaven" -- World Trade Center (1980)

UltimateLazer Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
3 months ago

This has not aged well.

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#17

1979 Ad For London Transit Showing How The City Would Look If Built By American Planners

1979 Ad For London Transit Showing How The City Would Look If Built By American Planners

morganmonroe81 Report

Nimues Child
Community Member
3 months ago

Not wrong. This is what Boston did and it was terrible.

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#18

Drunk Driving Ad, London... I'm Going To Say 1930's? Sorry For The Light Reflection!

Drunk Driving Ad, London... I'm Going To Say 1930's? Sorry For The Light Reflection!

Terminian Report

Jul Chv
Community Member
3 months ago

Clever!

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This one simple ad initiated a whole industry that soon embarked on a journey to change the world. The 20th century was the time when advertising started flourishing and is considered to be the golden era of advertising. You see, things took a whole new turn when radio stations and television came into play, Joshi wrote. It almost seemed like the industry sparked a movement that took a huge part in society – basically taking on a cultural status.

#19

How To Carry 20 Megabytes Of Data Around In 1985

How To Carry 20 Megabytes Of Data Around In 1985

reddit.com Report

Kimikazi
Community Member
3 months ago

20 MB. OMG!!!

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#20

"The Day My Kid Went Punk... What Do You Do When Your Bright, Loveable, Talented Kid Turns Into A Punker Overnight?" - Abc Afterschool Special, Oct. 23, 1987

"The Day My Kid Went Punk... What Do You Do When Your Bright, Loveable, Talented Kid Turns Into A Punker Overnight?" - Abc Afterschool Special, Oct. 23, 1987

DiosMioMan63 Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
3 months ago

My parents gave me the punk vaccine so I did not suffer this particular malady.

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#21

Drummond Sweaters - 1967

Drummond Sweaters - 1967

PioneerStandard Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
3 months ago

For some inexplicable reason I want to purchase the top right and bottom left items.

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With the radio and television, ads started becoming more personal. Companies began directly reaching into the minds of consumers, trying to boost their sales and ask them to try out their goods and services. "Radio advertising was launched in 1922 and was a big hit, allowing businesses to convey their unique selling propositions (USP) directly to consumers. Advertisers started paying radio stations to broadcast advertisements to their listening audience."

#22

Pan American Airlines (1956)

Pan American Airlines (1956)

MetaHelvetica Report

Ellie McGrath
Community Member
3 months ago

Look at that legroom

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#23

New York Pizza Burger (1980s)

New York Pizza Burger (1980s)

Epstiendidntkillself Report

Ellie McGrath
Community Member
3 months ago

Hey Burger King! Get this back on the menu

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#24

One Oregon Newspaper Clip Reads: “We Appeal To Your Civil Patriotism To Co-Operate With Us In Our Effort To Stamp Out The Spanish Influenza Or “Flu” Plague In Portland By Wearing A Mask”

One Oregon Newspaper Clip Reads: “We Appeal To Your Civil Patriotism To Co-Operate With Us In Our Effort To Stamp Out The Spanish Influenza Or “Flu” Plague In Portland By Wearing A Mask”

Paul-Belgium Report

Lyop
Community Member
3 months ago

Thank god for newer designs!! WTF?

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Joshi continued that radio ads were quickly followed by TV advertising, with the first television commercial airing in 1941. "Bulova Watch Company aired the first TV commercial, which was ten seconds long and seen by 4,000 people in New York," who were all reading one message, "America runs on Bulova time." This might seem like a small moment, but it set the precedent for the next seventy years. It inspired new ideas in the industry, and organizations started investing heavily in promoting their brand’s value and mission and engaging their target audience.

#25

Eat Ironized Yeast (1930s)

Eat Ironized Yeast (1930s)

reddit.com Report

Mozzarella
Community Member
3 months ago

Ohhhhh no

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#26

With A Smile

With A Smile

MetaHelvetica Report

Mozzarella
Community Member
3 months ago

Bad electricity bad!

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#27

Save Wild Life. 1975

Save Wild Life. 1975

Dhorlin Report

Raena Celis
Community Member
3 months ago

Compassion for animals will never go out of style

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As you probably can guess, then came the colorful days of the internet, which simply changed our lives. Joshi wrote that as the use of the web became more widespread, advertisers began focusing more on digital ads. Well, we're all well aware of that by being consistently bombarded with ads at any given time of the day. However, it's hard to deny the benefits the creation of technology brought to our lives. After all, it also provides us with the opportunity to flip through the pages of history and take a peek at the visuals that can tell us a lot about what ideas and attitudes prospered at the time.

#28

Ray Ban 1998 Ad

Ray Ban 1998 Ad

Paul-Belgium Report

Sander
Community Member
3 months ago

I remember these

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#29

1/2 Page Converse Ad Scanned In From A 1984 Playboy Magazine, I Just Read It For The Ads

1/2 Page Converse Ad Scanned In From A 1984 Playboy Magazine, I Just Read It For The Ads

mikeyRamone Report

Nimues Child
Community Member
3 months ago

Love this. Love wearing Chucks, too.

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#30

Mcdonald’s, 1987 Ad

Mcdonald’s, 1987 Ad

Paul-Belgium Report

Green Machine
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

McDonald's aint tossing my salad...uh uhhhh lol.

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#31

Really, Really Excited About Hot Dogs (1950s)

Really, Really Excited About Hot Dogs (1950s)

MetaHelvetica Report

Kris
Community Member
3 months ago

Creepy as heck!

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#32

No, K Mart, No

No, K Mart, No

Dreams_of_Eagles Report

Nimues Child
Community Member
3 months ago

I don't know whether to laugh or facepalm. Upvote for the caption.

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#33

Remember When Brach’s Pick A Mix Was The Best Thing About Going To The Grocery Store? (1970s)

Remember When Brach’s Pick A Mix Was The Best Thing About Going To The Grocery Store? (1970s)

DiosMioMan2 Report

Nimues Child
Community Member
3 months ago

I met Mr. Brach as a young child (he was a donor to the college where my dad worked). He thoughtfully gave this six-year-old a child-sized jackknife with his name inscribed on it.

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#34

The Establishment Wig, 1968

The Establishment Wig, 1968

reddit.com Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
3 months ago

Yeah... none of these men are serial killers. Honest.

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#35

1977 Sears Catalog

1977 Sears Catalog

morganmonroe81 Report

Tamra
Community Member
3 months ago

What!? There was an Easy Bake oven version for pizza?! Damn!

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#36

"When In Quarantine; People Who Are In Quarantine Are Not Isolated If They Have A Bell Telephone" - Bell Telephone Ad, November 17, 1910

"When In Quarantine; People Who Are In Quarantine Are Not Isolated If They Have A Bell Telephone" - Bell Telephone Ad, November 17, 1910

FNaXQ Report

Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
3 months ago

They’re not wrong. Except for the fact that not everybody had a phone back then, and using the neighbor’s phone kinda ran counter to the idea of isolating.

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#37

Schlitz "Don't Worry Darling, You Didn't Burn The Beer!" 1950's

Schlitz "Don't Worry Darling, You Didn't Burn The Beer!" 1950's

susierabbit Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
3 months ago

Someone is going to find themselves with a pan wrapped around his head.

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#38

“It’s Almost Like Having Another Lover There With The Two Of You”

“It’s Almost Like Having Another Lover There With The Two Of You”

MrCarnality Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

Ron Burgundy vibes anyone?

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#39

Simpsons Newspaper Ad (1991)

Simpsons Newspaper Ad (1991)

GrapeJelly_ Report

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

1991...that's...not.... possible!

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#40

Citroën 2cv, 80’s

Citroën 2cv, 80’s

Superbuddhapunk Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
3 months ago

It's not wrong.

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#41

American Airlines, 1971

American Airlines, 1971

Paul-Belgium Report

James016
Community Member
3 months ago

100% would fly on this. Looks epic

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#42

Toll Booth Quarter Gun (1962)

Toll Booth Quarter Gun (1962)

GymbagDarrel Report

Kelly Jo
Community Member
3 months ago

Can you imagine someone trying to use one nowadays?

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#43

70’s Ad For Asbestos

70’s Ad For Asbestos

morganmonroe81 Report

Kimikazi
Community Member
3 months ago

Die by fire 🔥 or cancer. Take your pick...

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#44

Matchbook Ad For Camp Wandawega In Elkhorn, Wi

Matchbook Ad For Camp Wandawega In Elkhorn, Wi

50thStreetInc Report

Nimues Child
Community Member
3 months ago

The artwork on the matches, tho'!

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#45

Gay Boy Tobacco 1890

Gay Boy Tobacco 1890

70sTimewarp58 Report

Summer Mason
Community Member
3 months ago

Very happy indeed 😊

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#46

Garfield Telephone By Tyco (1978)

Garfield Telephone By Tyco (1978)

TaimSolas Report

Saint Thomas
Community Member
3 months ago

Fun fact : Garfield phones have been washing up on the beaches of Finistère (France) for more than 3 decades. A shipping cargo lost a container full of them. The container is stuck in an underwater cave, and it's impossible to retrieve it.

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#47

Yes, These Are Telephones. Created By The Ericsson Company Of Sweden In The 1940s, Marketed In The 1950s

Yes, These Are Telephones. Created By The Ericsson Company Of Sweden In The 1940s, Marketed In The 1950s

50thStreetInc Report

River Webb
Community Member
3 months ago

"why does mummy always tell us to leave the room whenever the phone rings?"

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#48

Kickin Jeans

Kickin Jeans

MrZombified Report

Monic Krugell
Community Member
3 months ago

imagine if these guys could get a hold of a good pair of jeggings

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#49

Cellophane (1954): Better Living Through Chemistry

Cellophane (1954): Better Living Through Chemistry

PhilThecoloreds Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
3 months ago (edited)

So much wrong here but....the stork is so freaky looking right?

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#50

Lose Weight With Pure Sugar! (1950s)

Lose Weight With Pure Sugar! (1950s)

50thStreetInc Report

Mozzarella
Community Member
3 months ago

Why is “energy lift” in quotation marks. they are scaring me

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Note: this post originally had 106 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.