Retro Wednesday: Decaf to Prevent Child Abuse!?

Retro Wednesday: Decaf to Prevent Child Abuse!?

Last week’s retro-post was such a hit that I decided to give you  another  dose of vintage magazine advertising.  Let’s just say that “truth in advertising”  wasn’t a top priority back then like it is now (insert laughter).  Well at least the ads these days don’t seem as creepy or, in some cases, downright dangerous.

Since I have three children and one on the way, I was sure pleased to read (from the good people at Sanka) about how switching from caffeinated coffee to  decaf was an important part of parenting.  Fortunately a year or so ago I did switch to  green tea from coffee for health benefits.  What I didn’t know at the time was that I actually may have been helping to prevent child abuse of my own children!  I’m guessing that many of those fine parents who line up at Starbucks each morning must go home and beat their kids.  Wait a second… my green tea has caffeine and so does the Diet Coke I drink…and I don’t beat my kids.  I’m thinking that the dad depicted in this ad just may have had  some other issues a little stronger than the robust coffee he was slamming.

So, what I’m saying is that it’s okay to take another sip of coffee and keep reading:

Speaking of child abuse, it looks to me that the Pears Soap people advocated getting children clean with whatever method that that worked.   I’m not certain exactly what’s going on in this ad but it sure is creepy.  It didn’t creep enough people out back then, though, because but the company is still in business ( it was founded in 1787).

Last week we were a little taken aback by DuPont’s ad.  If wrapping babies in Cellophane wasn’t bad enough, here’s more bad advice.  Let your baby sleep under a sun lamp because  everyone knows how important it is for your baby to have a nice tan.  Wouldn’t you be embarrassed to take your infant to a party with soft white skin?  After all, Sunscreen is for Babies!  Sun lamps, however, are for…hmmm not really sure.

Parents back then didn’t know about skin damage and melanoma but what they did know, and we still know today, is that malt is good for the development of breast milk.  And our friends at Blatz Beer knew it, too.  Who cares if your baby is stumbling around from eating an alcohol-induced lunch and being supervised by a drunk mother.  I knew I should have bought my wife a case of Blatz instead of those boring chocolate malt balls.

If a milk and beer combination work in advertising, why not milk and bombs?  I understand that we need the military to protect our country and spread democracy, but the people at Douglas Aircraft created an ad that shows bombers dropping glasses of milk into the hands of children.  For me, children and bombs of any type don’t mix. Never will.  Now the worst ad of the day but I’m still a bit put off by it.

I must say that I’d rather be bombarded with patriotic defense ads than be subject to ads touting the benefits of DDT (banned in the US in 1972).  Let’s sing the song together now with Penn Salt Chemicals… a one and a two and a three, “DDT is good for me-ee!”

Poison is one thing, and you really can’t fault people for not understanding the dangers of it way back when.  Promoting razor blade safety, however, by encouraging people to start shaving at a young age is a little irresponsible when you use a baby with a razor in your ads.  Maybe it was cute back then, but I’m thinking that  it was just as creepy then as it is today.

You have to hand it to 7 Up to let Moms know that this 11-month-old child is not their youngest customer.  And if that’s not enough, how about their ingenious recipe to mix 7 Up and milk 50/50.  Now that’s powerful nutrition that packs a punch!  Ya know, I was almost tempted to try the combo just to see what it tasted like, but then I was afraid I might like this “wholesome combination” too much.

I’ve saved the best for last because this one really isn’t funny.  It gives me the chills to see a little girl in her bed with a doll and a revolver in her hand.  On her shirt it says,  “Papa says it won’t hurt us.”   The ad also reads,  “Iver Johnson Revolvers are not toys:  They shoot straight and kill.”   Good to know that for six bucks, instead of giving your beautiful daughter an actual toy, let her hold a gun.  This was wrong on so many levels.

My wife won’t even allow me to give my kids squirt guns, which I just don’t understand.  How can I expect them to know how to use a semiautomatic weapon when they get to those awkward teenage years?

If you haven’t seen last week’s Retro-Wednesday Advertising failures  please check them out:

Retro Wednesday: Sugar and TV will help your kids succeed?

If you found this article interesting, please send it to your friends or leave a comment.   Next week, Retro-Wednesday will look at how moms were exploited in vintage advertising–a Kid Planet tribute to Mother’s Day.