• Thu, Jan 23 - 11:30 am ET

Vintage Diet Commercials Show That Nothing Ever Changes

vintage dietThe pressure to be thin is nothing new, neither are products that promise to help consumers achieve thinness, nor the tactics used by advertisements to hock those goods.

1) Size 8 Cereal- A puffed cereal for women who want to be a size 8, which was smaller than the size 8 of today’s standards. Though the cereal box itself seems way groovier than any cereal box on shelves today, the message of the ad is remarkably similar to diet cereal ads today. Post Foods targeted this cereal to women in a very similar fashion to the way Kelloggs targets women today with Special K. The commercial flatters their demographic for having the knack to want to look good and be thin, but “are too hungry and active for starvation diets.” And of course it’s fortified with iron.

2) Good Measure- 300 calorie diet dinners. This product and commercial reminded me of diet programs that deliver pre-portioned meals to the consumer. They promise that you can still eat favorites like cake and pizza and lose weight while you’re at it. Good Measure’s product is the same thing: just controlled versions of mid-century favorites like potatoes and gravy. The commercial even suggests it is a better alternative than “popular liquid diets” of the era, showing that juice cleanses have been around in different forms for awhile.

 

3) Diet Pepsi- I was entranced by this wildly sexist but very sexy ad for diet pepsi cola, allegedly the preferred beverage of “girls that “girl-watchers” watch.” The term girl-watcher is a reference to the creepy, objectifying and wildly catchy 1960s pop-hit by the O’Kaysions. Like the other ads, this one has a different rhythm and format than modern commercials, but delivers the same message: if you want to be sexy, you better be thin and buy our soda because it will help. This commercial displayed one particular similarity to 21st century advertising that I did not expect. The narration of the ad emphasizes that “natural” taste of diet pepsi. I did not know that people preferred “natural” products at that time. Now I do.

 

I get into Youtube rabbitholes really easily when I search for vintage television ads and PSAs. If you have any time on your hands and are as curious and fascinated by the past as I am, I recommend looking around Youtube for more vintage weirdness.

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  • Larry Drew SG

    Those doughnuts make me go nuts

  • Shelly Lloyd

    I think we need to bring back those trippy cereal boxes!

    • Joanna Rafael

      Our cereal boxes are so boring!

  • Hannah Beth

    Girl watchers was so creepy.. but, and not to sound sexist myself, I do like that she’s covered up and still being watched. Still an object, but at least not one that’s been stripped down by the company like they do today.

    • Joanna Rafael

      I noticed that too. She’s a fine babe and objectified for sure, but she gets to wear clothes and isn’t just a pair of oiled up legs selling sex-Coronas to frat guys.

    • Hannah Beth

      Precisely.
      Additionally, while I’m a fan of occasionally showing off as much skin as you please, it’d be nice to send the message that clothes-on is still very sexy, too, and you don’t have to be obvious every time you go out.

    • Chuck

      What about the man used for Calvin Klein underwear commercial…during the Super Bowl. Selling sex for Mai tai frat girls? Ellen had him on her show, and guess what she asked him to do. Yes, strip to his underwear and she would give the audience a gift. Not one feminist group protest that…if that was a man, game over!

  • TriciaFinlayson

    Its very good ways to promote the ads towards the viewer.
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/353391901982380341/

  • simoneutecht

    I love the wardrobe in the Size 8 commercial

    • Joanna Rafael

      So cute!

  • Chuck

    What about the commercial that make men look like idiots?

    • Joanna Rafael

      What about them?

    • Chuck

      What I expect a woman to say. Sexism is only against women….thanks for proven my point.

    • Joanna Rafael

      That topic is totally irrelevant to this post.

    • Chuck

      That’s right, it involves men. Women on TV are expected to be a certain size. An unrealistic and not necessary requirement. Men endure the same, just blabbing idiots…but, yes totally irrelevant to a women website.

    • Joanna Rafael

      This post is about diet commercials, not about the portrayal of men and women in advertising. I’m sure you can find plenty of blogs and forums where likeminded individuals will sound off with you about the way the media represents men. Please go there. This isn’t the time or place for that discussion. You’re outraged over nothing and it’s tedious.

    • Chuck

      Yet, you do the same for women.

    • Joanna Rafael

      What about them?

  • http://wwww.youniqpilates.com/ YOUNIQ Pilates

    What about fruit and veg commercial? When will we see that?

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