Bad vintage Christmas ads: 20 retro holiday sales pitches that you’d never see today

Bad vintage Christmas ads 20 retro holiday sales pitches that you'd never see today
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When a man decides to shoot a prowler, he can’t afford to miss (from 1967)

Dec 1, 1967 Camera - Shoot a prowler


Who wants Happy Pants?

Here’s an ad from December 1953 that inexplicably teams up the Christmas holiday, Santa, Bob Hope (upside down, no less), Hope’s movie “Here Come the Girls” and some latex diaper covers called “Happy Pants.”

Dec 7, 1953 Bob Hope Happy Pants


Give your wife an extra head for Christmas.

Being that this ad is from 1969, the phrasing was probably intended to get a readers’ attention on several levels.

Dec 12, 1969 Give your wife an extra head for Christmas


Child beats grandma

“With Betty Crocker cake mix, amateur baker bakes better cake than experienced homemaker using best two-egg recipe.” (from 1950)

1950 Betty Crocker vintage ad - Child beats grandma


Creeper Santa

So many questions! Like: Why is this lady wearing those heels to climb up a ladder? Why is this lecherous-looking Santa Claus handing her some presents while she’s still up there? And how did she even manage to get her dress hooked on the tree like that?

Naughty Santa and stockings - ad from 1950s

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More creepy Santa-ness

The old guy certainly seems to be enjoying that lingerie in this Mojud ad from 1953.

1953 Santa with lingerie


This Christmas, you’ll need a carload of Q-Tips

We will?

Christmas Q-Tips from December 1957


WIVES: Cry a little (1966)

WIVES: Look this ad over carefully. Circle the items you want for Christmas. Show it to your husband. If he does not go to a.c. carlson immediately, cry a little. Not a lot. Just a little. He’ll go. He’ll go.

HUSBANDS: Look this ad over carefully. Pick out what your wife wants. Come buy it. Before she starts to cry.

Dec 18 1966- What wives want for Christmas


Dear Santa, Have you had the measles?

Okay, this song about the measles from 1956 gets points for being a collaboration between the great Cab Calloway and his daughter, but still…

1956 Cashbox - Dear Santa Measles song

These vintage Halloween costumes based on ’70s TV shows were creepy for all the wrong reasons


Last night, Grandma got loaded

Last night, Grandma got loaded in five seconds flat, and shot Uncle Henry (from December 1966)

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Dec 16, 1966 Christmas


That time the President sent cigarettes to all of his friends

“I’m sending Chesterfields to all my friends. That’s the merriest Christmas any smoker can have… – Ronald Reagan.” The actor is seen here in 1951, almost three decades before his presidency.

Ronald Reagan for Chesterfield cigarettes - Christmas 1951


This Christmas, give cartons of Luckies

Who wouldn’t want a decorator pack of cigarettes?

Luckies cigarettes for Christmas


Give the pen that burps

Of all the possible marketing angles, they chose burps?
1953 - Give the pen that burps


Better than mistletoe?

In 1969, the women’s liberation movement was beginning — and, well, let’s just say that it’s unlikely a woman came up with this ad campaign concept.

1969 Christmas appliances better than mistletoe


Attention Men

Don’t let your wife face an unhappy ending to her perfect holiday meal

Dec 1966 - Attention men - Get her a dishwasher for Christmas

Wait – what? How to make edible cranberry candles as your holiday salad (1960s)


Oh, Santa – Why don’t you bring Sis the man she wants?

I guess they’re hoping Santa will bring some toothpaste. (From 1952)

1940s Colgate Santa Christmas ad - nesbit


Guess what we got you!

Mother probably thinks she’s going to get a diamond necklace. Oh, won’t she be surprised when they take off her blindfold! (From 1937)

1937 Vacuum cleaner for Christmas


Happier with a Hoover

We think she’d be happier with a housekeeper.

Happier with a Hoover vacuum

How to be a perfect ’50s housewife: In the kitchen


Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar?

This 1957 ad features a flashing Santa, opening up wide to show off some cigars.

Dec 16, 1957 Cigars flashing Santa


Pucker up, ladies

Any woman knows what to expect when she gives him the best

Any woman knows what to expect - Christmas presents bad vintage ad from 1953

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