Commercial Appeal

When Ads Were Fun

Hard to believe, but once upon a time—back before DVRs, those pervy Cialis ads and Billy Mays (R.I.P.)—commercials were…fun.

We're guessing it's because they were made by tough guys, (mostly) men who wore sharp suits but didn't mind getting their hands dirty when the situation demanded it.

Someone should really make a TV show about those guys.

But until then, we'd like to show you AdViews, an online treasure trove of vintage ads where you can easily waste a few hours—thirty seconds at a time.

Consider it your new source for short-form storytelling with a whole lot of product placement. Most of the hundreds of ads stem from that halcyon era when Sterling Cooper finally got a television department, and they star such forgotten products as the Studebaker ("Craftsmanship With a Flair," goes the jingle—suddenly we're nostalgic for jingles) and Sugar 99—whose ads look like they reused the sets (and some stand-ins) from an early Bond flick.

Our favorites include Carling's, a Canadian beer with a heck of a gimmick: write in after you drink a few, and they'll send you a friggin' diploma. (Seriously—their motto is "Why don't you graduate today?") Then there's one for an IBM Selectric typewriter that lets you (gasp) change fonts, and a Draper-worthy beauty for Anscochrome— because there's nothing like watching an ad for color film in glorious black-and-white. And finally, there's Texaco, which decided to promote their "localized" gasoline with a band of hot, singing lady firefighters in thigh-high candy-striped trench coats.

Now we know where Kanye gets his ideas… 

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