Tuesday, September 14, 2010

"Great" Sexist Television Ads of the 1970's!

Those who disparage the advent of "political correctness" in regard to gender roles in American society either forgot or are  not old enough to remember how pervasive sexism was in the era when Women's Liberation became popular.  Such upheavals and dynamic  movements do not come out of a vacuum.  Here are three examples of the pervasiveness--I picked these because I remember all of them being aired--they were not yanked  immediately for being insulting to female consumers, they ran and ran.  How else would I and my friend who sent me one of these have remembered them from all the other mundane stuff on television?      

In the first we see just how helpless a healthy woman is out driving in the dark near a well-lighted airport. But you know what they say, "when a woman is at the wheel....." *shivers*

And then there's this little ad, a "Stepford Wife" darting about the wooden glades drinking "Tab", a Coca-Cola Company soft drink so enemic to the taste buds it made  one crave the bountiful flavor of city tap water!  But the message is clear--keep drinking Tab, dear, or hubby will stray off to marry a 14 year old Tasmanian belly dancer. 

And then there was the Folger's Coffee Commercials, featuring neighborhood Earth Mother and marriage counselor, Mrs. Olson.  Here she is hard at work saving another young newlywed  from banishment to afar  from the suburbs with her stash of "mountain grown" coffee.        


  1. We certainly had some 'bad' ads here, I'm hard pressed to think of any as bad as this trio though.

  2. Gosh, I remember ALL of these -- how old am I, again?....

  3. Great ads Doug.....I want my Folgers Coffee delivered to me in bed, I've never heard of it before but now I want it ...desperately!
    Anyone that expects his missus to pick him up from the airport must be bonkers, unless he wants to start bonking in the short stay multi-story of course, he must have been on a very long flight, poor man.

    But then again....that's mind stickers for you, damned little minxes that they are.

    Anyway we have a bit of sexist advertising here too Doug...quite neatly encapsulated here I think

  4. If women were such bad drivers in the olden days, why weren't they used exclusively to road-test new car models before they came to market?

    Regarding the second ad, pathetic, yes, but nothing has changed. Diet adverts are aimed almost entirely at women, putting a constant pressure, along with the whole media celebrity industry, to be perfect. It might not be as readily associated with being a "mind-sticker" (Pleasant phrase that seems more appropriate for a serial killer than a lady with a soft drink) but there is a consistently implied guilt-trip there for the taking.

    Not sure the last ad is too sexist. It is the housewife/husband's job to make sure that the coffee is of an acceptable quality for the entire family. I don't think it is sexist to point out that this particular lady is slacking a little. And her highly sensitive hubby, instead of telling her to "sort herself out". gently makes a joke of things, but lives with a coffee curse that could eventually lead to the demise of their relationship. Indeed, he may even have embarked on a series of affairs with secretaries who have the wherewithall to get some Folgers in.
    It is interesting that the mother character in this playlet comes over not as a patronised ditzy female, but as a wise and astute mom-in-law who carries Folgers around everywhere she goes in case of emergencies. So the add becomes a glowing endorsement of the experience and judgement of the serene older woman. That's my view anyway.

  5. They are worse than my memory served me, that's for sure Jim.

  6. That's ''strictly confidential" Will in my book ;-) Age is just a number after all.

    (A big hairy number maybe.)

  7. Hahahahaha, I'll keep my man by not marrying him! I'll drive in the dark and nab the first male who stops to change my tyre.

    Smile sweetly as I place the can of coffee on the table oh so caringly, while I go off to drink my Russian tea in a tall slim glass.

    Hahahahaha, thanks Doug, I enjoyed those videos!

  8. Folger's was "mountain grown" in cocaine-hearty regions of Columbia of course, which might explain its incredible popularity in American households...perhaps there was more than just caffeine addiction going on there! Yes, I looked forward as a lad to being served coffee in bed every day of my adult life by the lucky "little woman" once married and head of the household and all that, but I am a victim of chronological payback by the powers of matriarchy!

    The trouble with those saucy Tab-gulping "Mindstickers", AA, is that sooner or later they develop a mind of their own. I blame Germaine Greer if she's handy.

    That commercial spoof is a riot! I always used to put off drinking beer for the evenings, well after shaving. A few glasses before setting out for work might be just the ticket in these stressful times we live in...anyone seen my car keys?

  9. Good question Oakie. I'll have to ponder that one out. "Douglas, my boy , a woman with a car headed tot the airport is like a baby with a shotgun", as my old Uncle Moab used to say on Visiting Days at the Corrections Facility.

    Yes, the same companies that sell women on joining diet clubs and Weight Watchers food stuffs are the same people who tell us to stop off at our local franchise restaurants in America for all-you-can-eat pasta and goodies from the store loaded with trans-fat. They get the ladies coming and going.

    So true! "Mind-Sticker" is like the title of a Stephen King story when you give it a second thought. Hubby better be in "good shape" himself when all those under-regulated artificial sweeteners in that Tab turns his "little missus" into a crazed-from-hunger, flesh-eating sociopath!

    Yes, there was an ad I saw from that time where the husband says "my secretary makes better coffee than yours". Pity the poor married fool who tries that in 2010.

    Yes, Mrs. Olson seems to be like a modern day Goddess of the Hearth, watching over the neighborhood women with all-that Mountain Grown coffee wisdom. There were a whole series of little playlets like these in the 70's and the script was always the same----another marriage saved by Mrs. Olson! (Whose own husband was never seen... perhaps he was a thin bearded wretch, locked in the basement, grinding coffee beans. )

  10. Sounds fool proof to me, Cassandra. No man can resist changing a tire for a damsel --we seem hard-wired for it.
    Is that Russian tea you're drinking India or China? ;-)

  11. I was wondering where those mountains were; I have never heard of Folgers before either. The ad was truly cringe material but we are bound to have had them just as bad here.

    Half naked women draped over cars was also a popular concept back in the day.

  12. This is a relatively recent car ad in NZ (but probly made in Aussie). Iwas very controversial beacuse groups like Women's Refuge complained about relationship violence and got taken off, but then later was allowed back on air but only in late time slots. I would be interested in your thoughts and anyone else that wants to comment. Just a funny ad? Or not?

  13. When I saw this post in my 'inbox' I was amused to see it directly beneath a Multiply ad for an online game which seemed to be entirely being marketed on the curvaceous cartoon character from the game. Maybe online advertising still holds to 70s traditions!

  14. Ah, Mrs. Olsen - the kindly Swedish (Norwegian?) woman who counseled legions of young women on how to make the right coffee - and who gave rise to a joke I remember from the era:

    Q: What do you call Coffee and Orange Juice?

    A: Screw Mrs. Olsen....

  15. Indian or China, Doug, but never ever Earl Grey. It's like drinking my perfume.

    I remember one feminist saying, "why would I allow a man to change my tyre when it takes him ten minutes, I can do it in five." :-)

  16. I imagine this was the normal kind of advertising-by-fear in the English-speaking world toward women, Iri Ani. Since far more women go to college and choose or have to work, it seems like another country.

    Yes, the draping of women over cars was popular. Now you only see that on men's biker calenders in garages.

  17. I think body-image mind games are still a big push in advertising toward women, Ian. If anything, younger women seem to be forced to go straight form childhood into their teenage years. A person concerned about her looks spends more money at the mall I guess is the strategy.

  18. Haha, I was amazed to find the "Mrs. Olson"character was heading the Folgers campaign for twenty years. I saw her in a film now and then and it was always jarring to see the neighborhood coffee-pusher-on-the-prowl in a regular acting gig. Here's a bit on her career below:


  19. I tried Earl Grey tea just once--the earl can have it. I never drank perfume but that might be the closest thing to compare it to.

    There's not much many women can't do these days--including going into or at least near war zones it seems.

    And, way back in World War II, many ladies had to be truck and jeep mechanics or fly aircraft to military bases to make up for the lack of trained men on the home front.

  20. I agree Doug, let's leave it to the Earl.

    I think it's important to remember we women aren't in competition with men. If someone stops when I'm in trouble, I'll just say thank you I can do it, but I'd really appreciate some help. I think many women are forgetting the art of femininity, I don't mean playing the helpless woman, but allowing men to take some part in giving us a hand. I must say the male population I've come across are only too willing to praise and give a hand.

    I suppose those ads were of a time when women were thought to have more of a place in the kitchen.

  21. Yep. I'm not too keen on a lot of the things that the advertising industry does!

    That is the kind of thing that Stephen King would get up to.

    The wherabouts of Mr Olsen is a bit of a worry. I wonder if she served him up as a steak pie one evening.

  22. Agreed. Better luck with the next batch, Earl.

    I gather from what feedback I've had from women as an adult on this subject is usually close to what your saying ,Cassandra : "I'm not helpless, but a little help in some situations would not be considered amiss."

    Too many men took "Women's Liberation" as a competition--perhaps because men saw competition in almost everything that has to do with commercial society. A very big deal was made in the USA of a star female tennis player (Billie Jean King) beating an older male tennis star back in 1974 or so. This, for men, was a symbol of that movement--and, in retrospect, missed the mark.

    Men are more likely to seek advantage in sports or life in general as an end in itself I think . Women of course can also get caught up in that, but its more feminine I think to see things from the broader notion of how everyone can "win-win" out of a situation. Advertising in those days was so male-dominated I think they would running on old patterns of thinking that were outmoded even in that time.

  23. I don't care much for it either, Oakie. The American cable show "Mad Men"--about that industry in the 1960's--is currently one of my favorite shows. The persuasions techniques of the past may seem dated on that program, but the goal is the same--create a want and try to turn it into an insatiable need for a consumer.

    LOL! Mr. Olson may indeed have had a "Sweeney Todd" finish.