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These 23 Insanely Creepy Vintage Ads Will Give You Nightmares

NOVEMBER 22, 2014  —  By Mike Cahill  
Mike Cahill

Mike Cahill

Mike is ViralNova's resident Editor of the Weird. If it makes you say "OMG! That's terrible!!!" then Mike probably wrote it. Despite the subject of his articles Mike is surprisingly well adjusted. When he's not writing, he's making music, performing, and producing podcasts.

In many ways, the past was a strange and almost-frightening place. Modern marketing and advertising is pretty sleek these days...and it makes us forget how terrifying most ads used to be. Not only were most vintage ads racist and sexist, but they were creepy as well. Our society has since evolved, but you can't help but look back and say yikes.

For example, I'm pretty sure no one would ever use clowns to market anything in today's world. Yet people used to be crazy about having clowns in their ads. Just take a look at these ads. They make me shudder.

1. Clowns are terrible spokespeople for all products.

2. This child looks like he's in pain. I wouldn't buy that chocolate.

3. This child looks like pure evil.

4. Plastic wrap: literally a place you should never, ever, EVER put babies.

5. As if anyone ever "store-tests for freshness."

6. Yeah...I don't think this is an accurate portrayal of what would happen if your baby got a hold of your shaving razor.

7. My grandpa said he had toothaches a lot as a kid. Now I know why.

8. I think I'm missing something here.

9. Lobsters are just as good as horses, apparently.

10. Umm...what the what?!

11. This ad is a whole lotta nope!

12. There is no tempting way to serve bananas.

13. Well, this is disturbing.

14. Are you sure that's just root beer? That baby looks drunk.

15. This image might just haunt my dreams tonight.

16. That poor dog.

17. Peter Pain is the cousin of Peter Pan, and he's apparently a real jerk.

18. Why does a mutant carrot want to be beef flavored?

19. So the devil is promoting tabasco sauce?

20. What the heck happened here? How is this ad about soap?

21. Who knew pirates love baby tigers?

22. Great. More babies wrapped in plastic.

23. How is a pig mutilating itself considered a good ad?

I'm not sure I know what to say. I'd love to know why companies thought these advertisements would actually work. The only one that might win me over was #12. That one is almost too bizarre to not look at again.