20 terrible vintage product names

Note: This article may feature affiliate links to Amazon or other companies, and purchases made via these links may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Find out more here.

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

Well, the following products fall squarely on the other end of the spectrum. In fact, they’re so decidedly awful that you have to sit in awe of the boardroom geniuses who thought any of them would make a suitable name for a product.

From awful double entendres to horrible diseases to the just plain bizarre, here are a dozen products from yesteryear with some of the worst names to ever grace grocery store shelves.

The last one may be the worst. 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


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


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


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


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)

crax-crackers-april-1950


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


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


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.

ALSO SEE  See vintage Jeep Cherokees, from their debut in the '60s through the '80s

Mum deodorant - 1940s


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


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


Skat insect repellent

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

1952-skat-for-mosquito-bites


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.)

meds-tampons-feb-1951


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

Calls to mind fungi on the ocean floor… that women could wear in 1950.

sea-molds-vintage-june-1950


Pro-phy-lac-tic

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.

prophylactic-toothbrush-1913


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)

1959-vintage-ad-quest-fem-deodorant


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

If you enjoyed this post, please share it! And be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter, follow us on Facebook or Pinterest, or check out the cool stuff in our shop. Thanks for visiting!

More stories you might like

Check out our books!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Because the fun never ends:

Join the fun

Don’t miss out on the latest and greatest vintage stuff!

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.