When Advertising Took a Trip

Sunday, September 30, 2012
Looking back at vintage advertising through the decades, it's very evident that psychedelia spilled over into the advertising world during the late 60s. All of a sudden, the ads just pop with swirls of color and flower power. Some models in the ads look like they were on drugs...I mean, take the girl in the example above. This is an ad for dry cleaning, not the state lottery. No one looks this happy over dry cleaning unless they're tripping. From an artistic and pop culture standpoint, these ads are just plain fun to look at. (Note: all ads came from MewDeep via Flickr.)

Laugh-In was one of those shows that you either got and thought was hilarious or you hated...I'm with the former camp. The whacky, corny and random humor was a sign of the times. I've seen this ad a few times before and never knew that there was such a thing as a Laugh-In restaurant franchise...sounds like a good topic to research for the next installment of my Retro Fail post series.
Way before its "got milk?" campaign, the American Dairy Association went with The Cowsills promoting "mixed up milk." That wavy font and giant wheel barrel may be a sign that this milkshake delivers more than just calcium. 
Another example of someone looking way too happy over something that's way too mundane...a drugstore. Tune in, turn on, and freak out with Rexall...
Not so much psychedelic, but I love that only the 60s or 70s could give us a flying maid for a product icon. 
Flower Power toilet paper? Sure, why not. A flower-covered knight would have been thrown out of the king's court, but he seems right at home during the 60s. 
Now these are cool. I want one of those bags. 
Another thing I admire about so many ads from this period: the artwork. It's as if every advertising agency had a Peter Max working in the art department.
Maybe whatever company currently publishes the Yellow Pages should think about bringing back this promotion...who would have guessed that at one time you could purchase a Yellow Pages Party Pack for only $2. I mean, this even came with a record, a dance diagram, and 120 feet of crepe paper...a kit today in decent condition must be a collector's item!
Even the Campbell's Kids became way out flower children during this era. 

Yes, even bath scales got turned on, and I love these...especially the "Hey Fatso" scale...nothing like being blunt. 


  1. The Cowsills, what an awesome ad, I love these guys!! (Without them there wouldn't be my favorite 70s group "The Partridge Family"!)

    Anyway--I remember this flower-trip era all too well, but that "Laugh-In Restaurant franchise" really threw me for a loop--sure would love to know if the winner selected that or the 20K :) Awesome stuff Pam, thanks for sharing

  2. I love the Peter Max style illustration. :)

  3. The Mini Mist ad reminds me of an album cover whose name I can't remember right now. Great little round up.

  4. I have to laugh b/c I actually work with a company that produces Yellow Pages books, and have a color copy of that exact ad hanging in my cube! Found it in an old magazine in my collection.

    Desiree - could you be thinking of the Bob Dylan poster designed by Milton Glaser? That's what I immediately thought of http://images.businessweek.com/ss/06/01/milton_glaser/image/dylan_poster.jpg

    I spent so

  5. The commercials I remember most are the psych Levi's ads that Ken Nordine used to do the voice overs on. Great Peter Max style art work in those.

  6. I love anything psychedelic. There were Shasta hired an artist, who could immitate Peter Max real good. This was for their TV commericials. 7UP really went psychedelic and began calling themselves "the uncola." The best of their ads of this era featured as song called "We see the light." They even sold flicker lights in a 7UP can holder.

    BTW - If you do the restaurant post, you could mention George Lyndsey's Steakhouse. There was one here in Springfield Mo. It is still in business all though it has been called George's Restaurant since the 70s. Not sure when Goober sold his interest in the franchise.

  7. These are all amazing, I love the flower power soup kids. The dry cleaning lady probably worked there - all kinds of chemical fumes I should imagine!


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