Be a Mind-Sticker
Andrew Sullivan featured this bizarre Tab commercial from, I guess, sometime in the late 1960s. Not only does it have a downright unappealing tagline ("Be a mind-sticker") and the aesthetics of a Massengill commercial, but it just kind of boggles my mind that there was a time 40 years ago when an ad this blatantly sexist seemed like a good idea. (Nowadays, of course, the sexism in ads is more subtle.)
4/15/08 UPDATE: Here's an editorial about how men are frequently portrayed as buffoons in advertising. I do agree with his basic premise, though not all of his specifics; the ad above came from the writer's so-called "golden era" of advertising, so take that for what it's worth. I certainly agree that, more broadly speaking, advertising seems to be a lot more obnoxious than it used to be. Sometimes it seems almost every ad these days is somehow intended ironically, telling us that they're too cool to appeal to us in a straightforward manner. Now, some of those ads are genuinely witty --- Jack in the Box should be commended in this regard --- but for each one of those, how many dumb variants on the "here is a person who will go to absurd lengths to consume our product" theme do we see, or how many like Carl's Jr's do we see where they make a blatant appeal to the gutter, but we're supposed to think it's OK because they're winking at us, as if acknowledging the gutter makes it OK? Or how many succeed in creating an entertaining 30- or 60-second comedy or drama, but fail utterly in associating their product with the ad?