21 bad vintage product names you wouldn’t see today

Bad vintage product names you wouldn't see today

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Some product names are so fitting and catchy that they end up becoming part of the language —  things like Aspirin, Kleenex, Xerox, and Band-Aid.

Well, the following products fall squarely on the other end of the spectrum. In fact, several of these are so awful that you have to wonder how the names came about.

From awful double entendres to names that really have not aged well to the just plain bad, here are a collection of products from yesteryear with some of the worst names to ever grace store shelves.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

When you can’t shampoo… MINIPOO

Greasy hair? Rub some minipoo in it! Even back in the sixties, when this dry shampoo product came out, we can’t imagine the name seemed a whole lot better.

Minipoo shampoo from 1962 - Bad vintage product names at Click Americana

Kolestral hair care from 1966

Most people want to lower their Kolestral — not buy more.

Kolestral hair care from 1966 - Bad retro product names at Click Americana

Macho, macho man

A name that meant “manly” when this cologne was introduced now just makes people laugh — or starts them singing the 1978 hit song by the Village People. And let’s not discuss how, um, masculine the bottle shape is. (Ad from 1977)

Macho after shave from 1977 - Bad retro product names at Click Americana

Wipe your face with Young People (1969)

“Fighting acne is no part-time thing. ‘Keep your face clean’ doesn’t mean between bedtime and breakfast only. That’s why YOUNG PEOPLE Towelettes are good news…”

Young People acne wipes from 1969 - Bad vintage product names at Click Americana

Crax Crackers

Step on a Crax? Crax kills? Nah — not the name of something you want to eat… and asking for them by name might even get you arrested nowadays. (Print ad from 1950)


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

Hidden Body

Maybe “Hidden Body” seemed like a decent name for a perm back in the late ’50s — but now? It sounds like what a bad guy has in the trunk of his car.

Hidden Body Toni perm from 1958

Bad vintage product names: Suspants underwear (1950)

We’re not going to leave you in suspense, because such a bad pun for garter panties deserves to be called out. (Also note the body styles: “Toothpick Tillie,” “Modelform Millie” and “Buxom Billie.”)

Suspants underwear from 1950 - Bad vintage product names at Click Americana

Church Jewels toilet seats

Not sure what religion they’re from, but these sparkly toilet seats were made by a company called Church, and were part of their “Jewels” product line. (They also called them “Church seats.”)

Church jewels toilet seats from the 1960s - Bad vintage product names at Click Americana

A big job for Mum

To millions of people, “Mum” means “mother” — and she certainly has better things to do than to “guard your charm” and keep your underarms from smelling.

Mum deodorant - 1940s

MORE LIKE THIS: Talking behind her back: 12 really mean vintage ads that could give anyone a complex

Ayds helps you turn down a turnover

It’s just plain bad luck when your brand name for a diet aid becomes synonymous with a dreaded disease. 

Ayds diet candy - 1978

Soilax cleaner from 1950s

Soilax sounds like a really bad laxative product. But hey, at least is has Germisol!

Soilax cleaner from 1950s - Bad vintage product names at Click Americana

Learn to be pretty with Young ‘N Free (1970)

Young ‘N Free toiletries were for tweens and young teens, which they were supposed to use “until it’s time for you to turn into a beautiful woman.”

Young N Free 1970

MORE: 100 vintage 1960s supermarkets & old-fashioned grocery stores

Stereo breakthrough: Bone Fone

Only a bonehead from 1980 would imagine that “Bone Fone” was a good name — it kind of sounds like a 1-900 service — or that a four-pound scarf-like speaker was a good idea.

Bone Fone 1980

Big Yank leisure-wear for men from 1960

The “Here’s what daddy likes” slogan was in the context of choosing a Father’s Day gift. We hope.

Big Yank clothing for men from 1960

Bad vintage product names: Skat insect repellent

Do you really want to say that you rubbed some Skat on yourself? (From 1952)

Bad vintage product names: Skat insect repellent

Meds tampons

Gives statements like, “She really needs her meds” and “I forgot to take my meds” a totally different meaning. (Feminine products on the market in 1951.)

Bad vintage product names: Meds tampons

Wilson’s BIF canned beef

It’s probably supposed to be pronounced like “beef,” but it looks like biff. You know, like Biff — the guy Thomas F. Wilson played in “Back to the Future” — who was originally from 1955, just like this canned meat.

Wilson's Bif chopped beef from 1955

Sea Molds – They’re see-worthy!

These vintage ’50s swimsuits instead make us think of fungi on the ocean floor.



One name from more than a century ago would absolutely never fly today — that of the Prophylactic toothbrush.

While the definition of the actual word “prophylactic” hasn’t changed — meaning preventative, precautionary, protective — its modern-day usage typically suggests a latex doodad that helps with the prevention of pregnancy and STDs.

The dashes in the name don’t help, either.


Quest feminine deodorant

Do you really smell so bad that you need to embark upon “a long and difficult effort to… do something”? (That’s the definition from Merriam-Webster for the word “quest.”) But hey — it’s so neat to use! (Ad from 1959)


Unicum French-style hair nets (1950s)

We’re just going to leave this one right here.

Unicum hair net - Bad old product names at Click Americana

MORE: 50+ sexist vintage ads so bad, you almost won’t believe they were real

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Comments on this story

One Response

  1. Also, let’s not forget the brand names that turned out to be obscene, racist or merely silly in other languages — the most famous example being the Chevy Nova, which means “does not go” in Spanish (many people believed this to be an accurate description of the car). In some languages, “Siri” is vulgar slang for a man’s… naughty bits. Some of these are urban legends to be sure, but they’re great stories. The phenomenon isn’t limited to American products, either. Although few of us will encounter it, Iran manufactures a brand of laundry detergent called “Barf” (which is Farsi for “snow”), and Finland has a chain of “KKK” supermarkets!

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