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of the 1960s and 1970s
by Billy Ingram

Television ads have long promised a better life for us all with wonder drugs and overt sexual imagery. Here are some prime examples! (Links are to old Real Player clips.)


Dole Bananas
"If you feel it, peel it." Astonishing - this commercial uses blatant sexual imagery to sell bananas. Not a particularly original idea, but this Seventies spot takes it to the extreme. Would never have run in the 80s or 90s - no agency would even have dared pitch it - but I could see something like it airing today.

TV ads of the 1960s / Hai KarateHai Karate

This hilarious commercial sent Hai Karate aftershave lotion flying off the shelves. It made such an impact that anyone who saw these spots will forever remember them.

The gimmick- the cologne came with 'self-defense' instructions to fight off the women who are suddenly unilaterally attracted by the cheap lemony-lime scent. Thereafter dads used to getting Old Spice found Hai Karate under the Christmas Tree.

There are still people who get this stuff every single holiday, it's the only cologne they use because it's proven to be macho enough. Didn't you see the commercials? Axe Body Spray took the very same approach and netted huge sales.

Sea and Ski tv commercial 1960s

Sea and Ski

THE suntan lotion of the Sixties. TV ads were so prohibitively expensive at that time that a brand name could establish itself quickly by advertising on television.

Sea and Ski and Coppertone stayed the dominate products in the market until Ban de Solei ads began appearing in the early-Seventies.



Got too burned in the hot summer sun? Try this new (for the Sixties) topical pain-killing product - Solarcaine. This is another ad that ran for several years.

Unguentine was a rival product - why would a product have such a difficult name to pronounce? But it was a top selling ointment for some years.


Halo Halo Shampoo

Shampoo so thick you can't blow it out of your hand. If that's your idea of a good time. "Let yourself glow!"

1960s TV commercials about drugs


"Please, Mother! I'd rather do it myself!" One of the most famous commercials of the mid-sixties, an era known for terrific ads (linked above in Real Player format).

In this variation the husband who is the cranky one, and the extra ingredient in Anacin straightens him right out.



Mighty Mouse Zestabs

Mighty Mouse selling drugs to kids? Well, vitamins, actually. It worked, and inspired the flintstones Vitamins that came after. The key was seeing Mighty himself taking the pill, I guess - they sure made a big deal about it!


TV Commercials of the sixties with drugsExcedrin

Another immensely successful campaign - 'Excedrin headache number 101". This 60's spot features Charles Nelson Reilly ('Match Game') as the husband. How unlikely was that?


Wildroot Cream

From the Fifties - all a man needed to get the girl was slick hair, if you believe this. Might have been true back then, I don't know. What kind of name is "Wild Root" anyway, sounds more than vaguely sexual. (I love how these people took my crummy Real Player clips from the 1990s and loaded them on You Tube - with their copyright on it!




K-Tel commercials were ubiquitous on radio & TV in the seventies. These compilation LPs sold millions by taking the top hit singles of the day and putting them on one record This one for 'Block Buster' was one of the most heavily promoted of the series so I have to assume they sold a lot of vinyl.



Rolling Stones

This is a 1973 commercial for the Rolling Stones' Goat's Head Soup album.


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Here's a rare local 1964 ad for The Beatles' first US tour. Television was key in record album promotion in the 1960s, especially on music shows like American Bandstand and Where the Action Is.

Where The Action Is

Speaking of which here's the first part of an episode of this unique music series that actually had the performers doing their thing live, not lip-synced like on Dick Clark's other show American Bandstand.





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