Little Ads - Necessities are necessary.

Household necessity. All houses require Naughty Nellie cast iron object, or suffer fate of life without cast iron Naught Nellie necessity.

Precision transistor radio built right into handsome two-tone black cordovan sunglasses. Observers will never know you aren't wearing ordinary gigantic cordovan sunglasses. Customers are recommended not to confuse their precision transistor radio gigantic cordovan glasses with all their other non-transistor radio gigantic cordovan glasses.

This product not approved for use in treatment of halftone pattern.

Jewel-like nickel plaque is ideal gift for motorist with snooting pretentions. Jewel-like nickel plaque instantly ensnootens any motor vehicle. Official-looking text resembles that of plaques distributed by official snooty ratings board. Self-adhesive plaque can be easily removed to desnoot vehicle, return it to OEM snoot level.


Spud Imperials - Spuds Hackenzie.

Soooo, it looks like there used to be a cigarette company called "Spud". Whatever oldness you have to be to know this, I guess I'm not it. That's nice.

Why would you name your company something as goofy as "Spud"? Well, if your a guy whose nickname is "Spud", like Lloyd "Spud" Hughes. Long story short, he was a man from Ohio who had the idea of adding minty flavoring to cigarettes to make the smoke seem cooler, or, if you're a "special needs" professional with a career in marketing, "Kool-er". I'll remind you now that your trademark will be more bulletproof if you make up a stupid spelling for an already existing word so that you can say you invented that retarded version of the word. Thus does marketing spread ignorance throughout the land. This is why so many people think "espresso" is spelled "expresso". It is also why the letter S has been all but supplanted with the letter Z in nearly all forms of printed advertising.

Anyhoo, yeah, menthol cigarettes. Since the smoke gives you the illusion of coolness, Spud then goes hog wild implying that their cigarettes are not necessarily "good" for your throat, but "less awful" for your throat. Notice that, in the copy, they're very very careful not to say that their cigarettes are helpful in any way. However, they very energetically imply the hell out of "they're helpful in every way".

"Spuds' exhilirating menthol seems to cut right through that cold-clogged tatse and bring you old-time smoking pleasure!".

"Seems" is subjective, and cannot be disproven.

"Voice husky? Smoke a pack of spuds! They're not a remedy. But many find them more agreeable, more pleasing, at times when they can't enjoy other cigarettes!" As good as "Severed femoral artery? Smoke a pack of Spuds! They won't help you save your leg, or deliver you to a hospital, but they won't make it any worse!" Also "Voice husky? Whack a hornets' nest with a pool cue! It's not a remedy, but it won't directly exacerbate your voice problem... until you start screaming from the stinging and the hornets fly down your throat... but that's not a direct effect, right? Try Spuds!"
This sentence describes second-hand anecdotes, which may or may not be completely made up, and also cannot be disproven. Also, "many" is subjective and basically has little meaning. The one smidgen of actual truth here is that "They're not a remedy."

"...does not produce irritating acrolein..."
This sentence only mentions one of the many irritants in cigarette smoke, and Axton-Fisher would like you to forget that.

"Enjoy the feeling of cool refreshment..."
Again, completely subjective, and meaningless.

But hey, this print ad is pretty innocuous, compared to this Spuds TV ad. This ad lets me enjoy the feeling of irritated bemusement when I can't enjoy other forms of advertising! Many find it more freaky, more condescending. Stare deep into his eye-holes and want a smoke.

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Beach Blanket Bingo with Gina and Bryce.

Joke #1 - "Okay, you're doing really well. Now push again, once more. Thaaaat's it. Good girl."

Joke #2 - "You know, on that day so long ago when I got my arm caught in that thresher, I thought my life was over. Even when the said they could help me with surgery, I was still despondent. But how could I know I'd have such a beautiful, intelligent, charming woman grafted onto my shoulder in it's place? What I'm trying to say is, I love you, New Arm."

Joke #3 - "Yes, I think I can see it, just barely. Honestly, I'm getting tired of you always wrecking our romantic beach getaways by sticking a hermit crab up your nose. There are some voids that my love just can't fill, and I wish you'd just accept it."

Joke #4 - "Yes, I know, Gina. I keep telling you, it's the cold water."

Joke #5 - "Okay, now cough, darling."

Joke #6 - "Waaah! It's cold out here! Waah! I'm a boy! Hey! Are you my mom?"

[Commenter jokes will be added to the post.   -Mgmt.]

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DuPont Plastics - Brushing both sides of your brain.

It's easy to forget that Nylon is a trademarked name owned by the DuPont corporation, but it is. It's also weird to imagine that, before there was Nylon, toothbrushes were made with natural bristle, which means "pig hair". Bleah.

In this ad, DuPont would like you to believe that the very best paint brushes are nylon, but that's not necessarily true. Nylon brushes are more durable than natural hair, because the fibers don't have tiny pores in them, which trap paint, making them harder to get really clean. Plus, nylon tolerates the caustic chemicals used to clean out oil-based paints better than natural brushes do. But for the smoothest brush stroke, and sheer softness, you can't beat a real bristle brush, like sable. They're just harder to take care of.

Anyhoo, I never had a toothbrush made from natural bristle. I'm sure if I grew up with one, I would think nothing of it. But, since the stuff I clean my teeth with has always been a space-age polymer, I can say that rubbing pig hairs all over my teeth sounds weird. Just like someone in the future will think that meat not grown in a lab, that used to be a living animal, sounds freaky as hell. Of course, there are people all over the place now that think all meat is grody, but you know what I mean.

Did DuPont expect us to each have two hair brushes, one for the left and one for the right? Couldn't you just flip the brush over and have it fit your other hand? of course, from a marketing standpoint, there could be nothing better than making everyone buy two of something they only need one of. And when you're DuPont, the idea of every American running out to buy two hairbrushes must have made their accountants' pants tight.

Dream on, guys. Nobody's in that big a hurry to brush their hair, even if they had the dexterity to do a passable job with both hands simultaneously.

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Lysol Disinfectant - For your daintiness.

Alert Horrified reader Joe K. horrifically alerted us to this old ad for Lysol, which wanted ladies to use Lysol Disinfectant in their private places... and no, not their underwear drawer.

Huh? Surely this must be some other Lysol product that was specially formulated specifically for ladies to use in their hoo-ha, right? Like, maybe a special Lysol douche or something? The ad doesn't say anything like "Look for this freaky product wherever you buy other Lysol stuff!". And a simple Google image search will show you that that's a standard Lysol bottle pictured in the ad. So, this seems to be regular Lysol.

So, it must be a joke, right? Somebody must have 'Shopped up this ad, swapping in Lysol for, I dunno, Masengil or something? Right?


Double you. Tee. Eff.

Soooooo, this was... real.

For those who are too lazy or (more likely) afraid to try that link, it's a Smithsonian Magazine article about how Lysol was promoted as a feminine hygiene product. Back in The Thirties, "feminine hygiene" was a euphemism for birth control, and this was the subtext of these old Lysol ads. Here's a quote from the Smithsonian article in the link above:

These ads aren’t frightening women into thinking their genitals smell badly. According to historian Andrea Tone, “feminine hygiene” was a euphemism. Birth control was illegal in the U.S. until 1965 (for married couples) and 1972 (for single people). These Lysol ads are actually for contraception. The campaign made Lysol the best-selling method of contraception during the Great Depression.
That sounds completely horrible and insane, right? But what do we know? Well, Smithsonian knows a couple of things, and apparently Lysol was absolutely NOT a thing you should flush into your private parts.

Lysol might have been corrosive to the sperm but it also damaged tissue inside the woman. And in fact the Lysol used back then was far stronger than our Lysol is today. Hundreds of people died from Lysol exposure, some of them women using it as birth control.

Here's another, more on-the-nose ad that makes clear the real meaning of Lysol's phrase "feminine hygiene".

But there's good news, citizens! The Lysol ad at the top of today's post isn't lying in every single word it says. When it points out that Lysol "is effective in the presence of organic matter". Well, that much is accurate. Your tissues and organs are organic matter, and Lysol will fry the shit out of them.

In this second ad, it's pretty clear that "intimate neglect" means she had a sexual whoopsie with a non-her-husband type of man. Also, we now know that "complete feminine hygiene" means "chemically torching unwanted sperm from your virginia'". That sentence made my uterus hurt and I don't even have one.

Thanks to Smithsonian for clearing that historical curiosity up, and to Joe for bringing this to our attention. Now if we can just figure out what Lysol meant by "ignorance".


The billiards hall.

Time is a little short today, but we can still manage to do a few funny make-em-ups for this picture from a 1966 copy of LIFE magazine.

Joke #1 - "Man, that was one hell of a break. Only sunk five balls, though."

Joke #2 - "Wait. I need a do-over."

[Commenter jokes will be added to the post.  -Mgmt.]


Hard hat.

Joke #1 - "Good news, honey! I think I found Grandpa."

Joke #2 - "I'm terribly sorry, sir, but you were jaywalking, after all."

Joke #3 - London speed bumps, 1962. Ineffective and expensive, but very dapper.

Joke #4 - Dad loved reminding the kids that, back in the big flood of '46,  the water was over one hat deep. He couldn't resist demonstrating the horror.

Joke #5 - Oh no! Dale's wife had parked on his driving hat! ...But he couldn't drive without his driving hat. How would he move the car? What he needed now was his thinking scarf, but then Dale remembered that he had tucked it inside his driving hat! There was nothing left to do but kill himself. ...But where had he left his suicide moustache? Oh, that's right. He'd left it at the office... but that was too far to walk. So, he would have to drive back to work to get his suicide moustache - oh, wait.

Joke #6 - Oh no. Dale had parked on a double yellow bowler. He would get a ticket for sure. better move the car.

Joke #7 - "I'm terribly sorry, sir, but you were jaywalking against the signal, while dicking around with your phone... and you were wearing a tank top with three scarves. So, go fuck yourself."

Michelle Randy swings into action with a rare jokey contribution in the form of a deep pull from The Avengers! Thanks Michelle! - "THAT will serve that John Steed!", thought Dr. Evil Scientist.

[Commenter jokes will be added to the post.   -Mgmt.]


Inventions - Amusements for your bemusement.

Toy bullhorn helps children enjoy the fun of shouting, screaming, wailing, howling, yelling, caterwauling, shrieking, yammering, babbling, making a godawful racket, and wearing bow tie. Runs on two D batteries.

Security door chain locks with key, can be installed with screwdriver in minutes, is guaranteed to keep out home invaders weighing less than 94 pounds, but more than 60 pounds, and are unequipped with screwdriver.

Odd Ogg teaches children the importance of playing willingly with anything smiling,with its arms out, and offering toys.

Miracle shoe lights are powered by battery in the heel, help feet clearly see an area fourteen inches in front of feet. Excellent for feet that stay out too late drinking with the boys' feet and want to sneak into bed without waking the wife's feet.


Smucker's Fruit Massacre


Little Ads - Products you cannot live without. Therefore, you are dead. I'm sorry for your loss (of you).

In case you were ever given to wonder what a truss looks like, it's a decorative frame for your wiener. Higher-end models would sometimes feature text on the strap, to remind observers that one's wiener is rather unique... wherever it's got to.

It's quite possible that, if you need a baby calculator, you probably have too many babies.
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Not to be confused with similar product "COMA-TRIM", for losing weight while you lie in a semi-vegetative state.

NOTE: Blade sharpener cannot be operated with your junk. DO NOT ATTEMPT.


Lifebuoy - Slinker and stinker.

You stink. If not now, then you will soon. We owe a debt of gratitude to marketing for teaching us that we stink, and we need to buy their product to fix it. Lifebuoy was - is! -  a soap company that, when I first heard of them, I thought was called "Life Boy". More on that later. Here's the dramatic ad from 1935.

Life Buoy is careful to make clear in the very first panel that they are married. As we read on, it becomes obvious that the only reason Wife didn't marry that other loser is because he stank. Soon, we learn that if you stink, you can't smell your own stink. The happy ending is a relationship based on the bedrock of not stinking. Surely their love will stand the test of time...

"Oh, darling. Do you remember that marvelous evening we spent sipping champagne under the lights of the Eiffel Tower? It was ever so non-smelly! Truly it was!"

"How could I forget? Just as I cannot forget the week we spent in that quaint villa in Mallorca with your parents. The sands were so odor-free. I could hardly believe the lack of stink. It was grand. The gulls were especially odorless as they danced above the sparkling water."

"My love, let's never have an odor! Never ever!"

"Oh, we shan't, my dear. Never a whiff. To this I pledge."

To sum up, the message of the ad is this:
1) If you stink, you won't know it.
2) If you stink, you will never find love.
3) Unless you use Life Buoy, items 1 and 2 are certain. So, be constantly afraid of them and use Life Buoy.

When A Christmas Story appeared on HBO in 1982, I had never seen anything so funny before, (except for maybe Monty Python, and Mom would have flipped if she found out my brother let me watch it with him). A Christmas Story was the first time I had ever heard of Life Buoy soap, and the auto-correct in my young brain made it into "Life Boy". Why would I hear it differently? I did know what a "buoy" was, but the circular flotation device you throw to a drowning person was a thing I understood to be a "life preserver". A "buoy" was floating marker weighing hundreds of pounds, with a bell and maybe a light on it that you find tethered in a harbor or something. I had no idea what a "life buoy" was. In my mind, if you threw a buoy at a person who fell overboard, you would stand a good chance of killing them. Also, in the movie, narrator Gene Shepherd (from Indiana) pronounced the phrase exactly like "life boy", while my Chicagoan family pronounced the word more like "boo-wee".

There's a fairly great podcast produced by the CBC (Canadian broadcasting Company) called Under the Influence. It's written and hosted by Terry O'Reilly, an actual ad man of many years. He did an episode on "the marketing of shame", and how shame is a thing that sort of doesn't exist any more. This episode covers the invention of "B.O." in the 1800s. It's really interesting. He even uses a Life Buoy ad as the thumbnail for the episode.

One of the things from one of my former relationships that I recall with some degree of pride is that my ex-girlfriend (at the time, just my "girlfriend") once told me that she had never smelled my B.O. Apparently, I never stank. Hooray for preventative shame. At least I got that right.

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Barbizon Lingerie - Give her the slip.

Pointy Tree Day is on it's way, readers, and we've had the Phil Are GO! Garage Sale and Antique Store Assault Squad ransacking the greater Chicago area for December issues of magazines, to be sure we have the larder stocked with hilarious ridiculousness, all set for a tortuously long holiday season's absurdity.

This 1959 ad in Esquire is just a little sample. Mmmm, nothing satisfies like gold velour curtains. And what could look more natural than a model vamping in an empty room in front of those curtains, framed about as artfully a mugshot?

This, uuh, "dreamling" retailed for $11 in 1959. So what's that in current Futurebucks? Only $90. Wow. And it's not even silk. How do we know? Because they use a made up word for whatever the fabric is: "satin de lys (r)". Ah. Nylon. Got it. Ninety bucks? Fuck you, Barbizon.

Barbizon also has some fantastic names for colors. They're so fantastic that you have a really hard time guessing what color they are. When a color's name is so fancy it's useless as a descriptor, that's pretty fantastic.

"In delicious shades of champagne, snowflake, bliss blue and dawn blush."

Also, that's not even a sentence, but Barbizon chose to capitalize it and use a period, which is more than they felt the opening line of the ad deserved...
"golden gift by Barbizon in our new luxury fabric, satin de lys(r)".
This ad only has four lines of copy in it, and only one of those qualifies as a complete sentence. Of course, anything even obliquely associated with romance is so heavily buried under marketing babble that the essentials of grammar aren't even a consideration.

Considering that this ad was created and published in Esquire Magazine in 1959, it is also possible that you and I are the first people to have ever even looked at this ad without at least one martini in us... and I'm not even sure about me.

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The softened cylinder.

Joke #1 - Upon later reflection, Unit 24738B would agree with the engineers that, yes, it did feel better now, and in the future, it would be more careful about how much it ate late at night.

Joke #2 - "...Heeeeyyyy, mallowrena!"

Joke #3 - What should they do about the drastic supply under-runs in the hydroponics labs? When the atomic winds came, it meant the magnetosphere would flip its polarity, and there wouldn't be another supply ship for twenty-six orbital units, because of all the radiative interference in their time envelope. There was only one thing to try: consult the Guardian of the Great Softened Cylinder.

Joke #4 - "Uuh, we may want to take this a little slower. It doesn't look like the machine is into it."

Joke #5 - Frome and Hemmit held their breath. Slowly, a line segment descended from the aperture, probing the offering. Soon they would know if their gift was accepted, and if they would have a good Birthing Season. Frome could feel his ovary tremble with excitement.

Joke #6 - Congressional business was really starting to fall behind, now that they had to agree to humor all possible religious faiths before proceedings could begin. Stupid ACLU.

Joke #7 - Mario and Luigi in their most action un-packed adventure yet: "Bowser's Cramworks", available on all Nintendo Systems.

Joke #8 - "Dammit, Gary, it's still not gonna go! Make it dilate somehow! I don't know... stroke it or something!"

Joke #9 - One of the top ten stupidest things Scientologists expect you to do with a straight face.

Joke #10 comes to us from Mr. FancyForbiddenPants_C57D, with loads more technobabble, for your daily supply of vitamin sci-fi. Thanks, MFFP! - Jerry & Doc tried to short-circuit the continuum on a five or six parsec level by cannibalizing about two-thirds of the ship's electronic gear & then unshipping the main drive to juice it....Then they realized it would take about 10 days to build a bunker to house the core, so they just said screw it! Let Captain Addams do it his own damn self!

[Commenter jokes will be added to the post.   -Mgmt.]

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Little Ads - The novelest of novelties.

Already, in 1948, the thriving American industrial sector was making good use of production capacity and technological advancements brought to them by wartime efforts. Those lucky enough to have survived World War II could spend their $1.95 ($19.28 in today's money!) on an astonishing, amazing illuminated bow tie -which is also "jazz"! - or a merely amazing "Guzzlin Charlie" drinking bird. Truly, victory was ours.

Just in case you forgot how Homer found a way to have this bird do his job for him, see below. I think this makes the choice obvious. Buy the drinking bird and get a nice afternoon off.

On page 66 of the same magazine, we found this ad. It seems that the novelty electric tie market was really heating up in '48. This tie is not astonishing or amazing. It is forty five cents cheaper, but it's merely "good for lots of laughs". You can do better. The manufacturer called themselves the "Electric Bow Tie Co", in a spasm of inspiration. They could apparently not do better.

For only $8.45 (or $83,56 in today's money), you could order this radio-phone. Tip for all the inventors out there: Taking a device that already exists (a radio), and adding the fun of holding it up to your head equals "the magic of tomorrow". I've got an idea for an apple slicer phone of the future. Gotta go.
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Heublein Cocktails - Mister fancy.

Heublein was a company that made premixed cocktails you could buy in a bottle. If you were really jonesing for a vodka martini but couldn't be bothered to shake-not-stir one up for yourself, Heublein was your go-to. This 1966 ad for Heublein kind of makes me wish I had a li-bary full of what look like the opening titles from Frazier Thomas' Family Classics.

The marketing bullshit being used here is the well-worn "You will be just like George Sanders if you drink our product." The copy insists that George said "Pour a Heublein Martini. Most  people can't make one as good." This could easily be true. Maybe many people are useless at mixing drinks? Maybe he agreed to say whatever they want for a nice little check? It doesn't mean Heublein cocktails were any good. Nor does it mean they were terrible. It's the perfect advertising copy, in that it doesn't mean anything, but sounds like it should.

If you have a library like that in your house (and maybe you do?), do you put on your corduroy blazer and your ascot, just to sit down for a bit of a read? Heublein wanted you to think George Sanders did. It paints a nice fictional image of sophistication and refinement - exactly what Heublein needed to polish up the image of their lazy man's cocktail line. So who was George Sanders, and why did Heublein invite him to pitch their stuff?

Here's why. Listen to this guy's voice. George Sanders is all baritone Britishness and cleverness. He was the voice actor for Sher Khan in Jungle Book. This scene is brilliant, with the voice acting and the animation. Any time you get to animate characters being sneaky or evasive, it's a scene you can really have some fun with. All the guile and barely controlled emotion give an animator a lot of opportunity to have the eyes betraying what the character is feeling, while his/her voice is trying to convince you of something else.

So, Heublein went out of business in The Eighties, but premixed cocktails are still made today by other companies. Are they any good? Here's an un-blinded taste test by Eater in which they found out. Here's the verdict:
Our overall consensus was that made-to-order cocktails trump most of the bottled versions we tried. Although the idea of enjoying a solid cocktail at home—without the effort of actually making the drink and potentially spending too much money on ingredients—was appealing.
So premixed cocktails are okay, but not as good as a freshly made one. No surprise there. They list the best brands in the article, if you're interested.

Now that it's getting all Autumn outside, maybe you need a hot drinky-poo for when you cozy up with volume 2 of "How to Wear an Ascot and Not Look Like a Complete Tool", by George Sanders? A few Thanksgivings ago, I tried a recipe for mulled wine, found on the ultranet. It called for a lot of sugar and far too many ingredients. It was thick and syrupy, and if you ask me, sugar plus alcohol equals headache. So, I just tried heating up some wine instead. Well, heating wine brings out different flavors. Acidy, vinegary flavors came to the front, and the steam carried these flavors up my nose when I took a sip, stinging my nose holes a little. It was bad. So, I hit upon the idea of throwing in a little grape juice to knock that edge off the taste. Bingo. I will now give you the recipe as if I'm dying from multiple wounds in Danger 5, breathing the secret as my last, into the sympathetic ear of Pierre, the team's bartender.

Four parts red wine.
One part grape juice.
Cough! Cough!
Microwave for one and a half minutes.
Garnish with cinnamon.
The perfect Hot Mon Deiu.
I die.

You're welcome!

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