28 vintage bad product names so fabulously awful, you won’t see them 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 — those like Aspirin, Kleenex, Xerox, and Band-Aid, where the product name has transcended the mere brand and applies to the entire concept.

Well, the following products fall squarely on the other end of the spectrum. In fact, several of these bad product names (and often their branding collateral, as well) are so obviously awful that you have to wonder how the names ever came about.

From terrible double entendres to names that really have not aged well to the just plain bad, here is 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.

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Bad product names: 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

Layers of bad product names: Church Jewels toilet seats

Not sure what religion they’re from, but these sparkly toilet seats were part of the Church toilet seat brand by American Standard (already, one wonders… why?!). But it got even worse when they introduced the “Jewels” line of Church toilet seats, inviting the world to plant their butt on the “Church jewels.”

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

Bad product name: Macho, macho man

A product 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. How was this ever anything but a gag gift? (Ad from 1977) 

ALSO SEE: What were the best colognes for men in the 60s & 70s? Here’s a look!

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

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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

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

Jockey Micro3 Briefs (1979)

We get that they were trying to convey the Speedos-like minimalistic style of these “Skants” briefs for men, but can’t imagine guys were thrilled about buying underwear with a big MICRO written on the package label.

Jockey Micro3 Briefs (1979)

Bad product names: Force brand cereal (1903)

Nothing makes sense here. Not sure who would want to willingly eat a cereal called Force — apparently not a lot of people, because it wasn’t around for long. (The tagline “produces cheerfulness because proper” wasn’t going to win any awards, either.)

Force brand cereal (1903)

Bad product names: Hidden Body

Maybe Toni’s “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

Kolestral hair care from 1966

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

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

Bad product names: Suspants underwear (1950)

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

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

Carter’s old Spanky Pants underwear brand (1964)

“P.S. Mothers love to wear Spanky Pants, too.”

Carter's old Spanky Pants underwear brand (1964)

Unfortunately bad product names: 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. (Find out more about the Ayds brand here.)

Ayds diet candy - 1978

Soilax cleaner from 1950s

Soilax sounds like a really bad laxative product. But hey, at least it 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

Spud cigarettes (1957)

Potatoes had been called spuds for decades before this 1950s brand of cigarettes came out. “I smoke Spuds” just doesn’t have much of a ring, either.

Spud cigarettes (1957)

Android medication for impotence (1980)

There’s so much to unpack in this ad. We get that androgen leads to android, but the word was used to describe a manlike automaton since the first half of the 1800s.

PS: Note the Leaning Tower of Pisa in the A of the medicine’s logo. 

MORE: See how vintage drugstores 100 years ago sold lots of things you can’t (legally) buy anymore

Android medicine for impotence (1980)

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

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

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

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

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Bad product name, terrible tagline: Big Yank leisure wear for men from 1960

A terrible name for pretty much anything, but FYI, the “Here’s what daddy likes” line from the Big Yank clothing brand was in the context of choosing a Father’s Day gift.

Big Yank clothing for men from 1960

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.


Thumbs Up jeans from Sears (1983)

The name wasn’t catchy to start, but seemed even worse presented in an ad showing the pants as seen from behind.

Thumbs Up jeans from Sears (1983)

Lyknu furniture polish (1919)

It might have left your furniture looking “like new,”  but we’re pretty sure that nowadays, the letter combination LYKNU would get your personalized license plate request denied.

Lyknu furniture polish (1919)


One name from more than a century ago would 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 suggest they realized the name was relatively uncommon and hard to pronounce.)

The top line suggesting the toothbrush offered “Toilet Refinement” wasn’t a big plus, 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

Weed Television station representatives (1953)

These were the people you contacted if you wanted to advertise on TV. Even back in the 50s, weeds were weeds… not exactly a signpost for the top tier in the broadcast market.

Weed Television station representatives (1953)



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: 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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