Kevin Dean

Volkswagen Splits With Researcher It Hired To Chronicle Company’s Nazi Connections

A number of popular German brands — including Hugo Boss, Daimler-Benz, Porsche, and BMW — had connections to or business arrangements with the Nazi party and/or the German military under Hitler. But the brand that may be most commonly linked with the Third Reich is Volkswagen, a company that had, for the last 18 years, contracted a noted historian to research VW’s embarrassing origins, including its use of forced labor. However, at a time when an ongoing emissions scandal has called the carmaker’s commitment to transparency into question, VW and the academic have gone their separate ways. [More]

Duke University Libraries

State Fairs Of Yesteryear Often Featured Creepy Baby-Judging Contests

Just imagine: you’re standing in the crowd at the state fair, gaze fixed on a stage filled not with plump vegetables, carefully crafted pies, or prize cows, but babies. Yes, the past could get pretty creepy. [More]

7 “Health” Products From The Past That Would Never Make It Onto Shelves Today

If someone walked up to you today and suggested you drink radioactive water to reinvigorate your body, or offered you a cigarette to ease your asthma symptoms, you’d probably walk away quickly, in the hope that such craziness isn’t contagious. Yet not that long ago, these and other questionable “health” products were openly marketed to the public as great ideas. [More]

Be Thankful That No One At Your Thanksgiving Is Lighting A Cigarette After Every Course

Be Thankful That No One At Your Thanksgiving Is Lighting A Cigarette After Every Course

No matter where you celebrate Thanksgiving and what you’re eating, take a moment to be thankful that this suggested tradition from the mind of a marketer never caught on: lighting up a Camel cigarette after every course of your meal. No, not after dinner, after every course. [More]

Sorry Camel, Fewer People Than Ever Are Smoking Between Every Thanksgiving Course

It’s been 78 years since Camel rans its full-page Thanksgiving ad encouraging smokers to enjoy a cigarette after every course of their holiday meal to aid with “good digestion.” Since then, food has apparently gotten a lot easier to digest — and people aren’t so keen about dying of lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease — as a new CDC report finds that fewer Americans than ever are aiding their digestion with cigarettes. [More]

CompuServe In 1994: Here, You’ll Never Outgrow 60 E-Mails Per Month

Decades ago, our ancestors would purchase or receive in the mail “magazines,” primitive information delivery devices printed on shiny paper. Most of these magazines featured advertisements for products and services. In 1994, an ad for Popular Mechanics promoted CompuServe, a service that you could dial into with your modem. One that connected you to news, sports, weather, shopping, information, and included sixty e-mail messages per month. Sixty! [More]

(Paxton Holley)

In 1974, Burger King Deployed The French Fryin’ Legion

Here’s a useful piece of information for the “pub trivia” section of your brain: Burger King introduced its onion rings in 1974. We came across this ad for them in TV Guide, mostly noticeable for the terrible ad copy, the modest serving size, and the fact that the onion rings are not actually on a burger. It’s like fast food from a different world. [More]

Great Moments In Badvertising History: Save Wives From Working, Doc Loves His Camels & Babies Guzzle Soda

As we’ve told you before: Anyone looking through old magazine ads could only conclude that the past was pretty darn terrible… At least if that past includes a mission to save your wife from having a job outside the home, doctors that smoked like chimneys, and babies drinking soda like it’s the nectar of life itself. [More]

(LIFE magazine)

Badvertising History Lessons: Trap A Man With Soft Skin, Adult Diapers Are In, IBM Claims A Win

We’ve come to expect that the past is terrible. Well, rather, it was terrible, and now it’s just fun to look back and chuckle over how companies wanted us to wear high-waisted diapers alongside our children and use soap not for hygiene, but to ensnare unwitting men. [More]

Badvertising History Lessons: Women Can’t Drive, Men Can’t Bake, Fancy Cheese Is A Requirement

Badvertising History Lessons: Women Can’t Drive, Men Can’t Bake, Fancy Cheese Is A Requirement

Let’s face it: The past was terrible. Sure, wax on about the “golden era” and pine nostalgically for the “good old days,” but if we can learn anything from advertising in days gone by, it’s that sexism sells. In an effort to show how far we’ve come and take a bit of shine off the past, we present Consumerist’s Badvertising History Lessons. This week, sexism is an equal opportunity -ism. [More]


Sugar Coated Rice Krinkles: Your Parents’ Favorite 1960s Racist Cereal

That handsome fellow at left is So-Hi, mascot of the now-discontinued Post breakfast cereal, Sugar Coated Rice Krinkles. The same product had another, strangely beautiful name: Sugar Sparkled Rice Krinkles. [More]