follow us in feedly
Early advertising for arcade games was sexy… or… at least sexual, anyway
08:01 am


arcade games

The tireless archivists at Retrospace are truly doing the Lord’s work with their amazing library of vintage magazine scans—check out these ridiculous early arcade game ads! To be fair, video game graphics were so crude at that point, it probably felt impossible to entice potential players using only the pixels of the game itself. Still, they really had a hard time (heh) divining the erotic potential from those massive things. Some of them barely make sense—why is a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader (knock-off?) trying to sell Strike Zone? They aren’t even the same sport!

On some level, I appreciate the crudest ones most of all, and the Shark Attack ad comes out ahead on that one. (A disembodied ass? “Thrust and Munch?” Seriously?) On the other hand, attempts to keep it classy are even more hilarious. There’s been a little moral panic around arcade games since pinball was invented. To concerned parents, all change-devouring consoles smacked of gambling and juvenile delinquency. I assume the more wholesome—dare I sat “classier?”—ads were an effort to brand video games as harmless fun. How that translates to twins in prom dresses, I do not know, but hey, I do kind of want to play Deep Scan now!




Many more ‘sexy’ vintage video game ads after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
War is Hell: Morbid commercial parodies bluntly reveal the cold, hard reality of a military career
06:55 am


action figures

Veterans For Peace, a UK organization of war veterans, has recently set up a website in opposition to child recruitment of soldiers. Their mission is to raise the minimum UK recruitment age from sixteen to eighteen. The site makes its point with a set of (VERY) darkly humorous parody action figures: “PTSD Action Man,” “Paralyzed Action Man,” and “Dead Action Man.”


The site also features a set of (brilliant) fake commercials detailing the realities of war casualty.

We’re not sure whether to laugh or cry:

Via Veterans For Peace UK

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Wailing babies and children projected onto clouds of smog in horrifying message about air pollution

China’s air pollution is a serious issue, one that can be downright deadly, especially for small children. Predictably there is a lot of brutal Chinese environmental art out there, but this is one of the most legitimately creepy stunts I’ve ever seen—projections of wailing children and babies on columns of smog. My first impression of the spectacle was, “Oh, it must be a Chinese artist making an environmental message!” Nope, the installations and associated video are actually an advertisement for air purifiers. Yes, despite all those nifty overtures to communism, China is very much a country that runs on capitalism. The company’s statement on the ad:

Xiao Zhu wanted to stand out in a market that was almost as congested as the air. A market where half a million people, mostly children, have died due to air pollution related illnesses. So we decided to put a spotlight on air pollution’s biggest culprits—the factories—by using the actual pollution from the factories as a medium. People took notice, and the word spread.

Clear the air. Let the future breathe again.

Oh wow, I feel so hopeful about the future now that there’s a product to remedy this problem!

Remember kids, if capitalism caused the problem, you can certainly count on capitalism to solve the problem! (Right?)

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Be careful with that hammer & sickle, Eugene: Soviet accident prevention posters
06:48 am


Soviet Union

During the 19th century posters were primarily used as a means of advertising and publicity. It would take the events of the First World War and the Russian Revolution to change their use from commercial to a means of propaganda and education. Posters became a means to educate or re-educate a nation according to the beliefs of their leaders—whether as a rallying point in war or to inspire revolution.

For Soviet Russia the poster was a means of spreading state information targeting the population across a vast and diverse country. Literacy had been a problem in Russia—according to 1897 national census, under Tsarist rule just 28.4% of the populace were literate. After the revolution, Lenin promised to “liquidate illiteracy” and by 1926, 56.6% of Russians were registered as literate.

However, knowing that at least half of your workforce was illiterate was a hinderance to the planned Soviet industrialization of the country.The workforce had to be educated as quickly and successfully as possible. To solve the problem accident prevention posters were produced disseminating clear and succinct warnings to all possible hazards faced by the Soviet workforce in industry and agriculture. “Be careful with a fork,” “Hey Scatterbrain! Don’t cripple your Friends!” or “Don’t Walk on Fish!” reinforced the need for the individual to take responsibility of their own actions for the benefit of the greater good. Though many of the messages may strike us now as bizarre or strange (“A fan is a friend of labor. Let it work forever.”), they all reflect a revolutionary change to the quality of health and safety at work.
‘Hide the Hair.’
‘Don’t Walk on Fish!’
‘Chemical containers should have accurate inscriptions!’
‘Hey Scatterbrain! Don’t cripple your Friends!’
More health and safety notices from Soviet era Russia, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The day the music died: Vintage ads of pop stars selling shit

‘When You’ve Heard Lou, You’ve Heard It All’ Lou Rawls advertising career covered insurance and booze.
Musicians have long depended on patronage from the rich and powerful to sponsor their careers as artists. As far back as composers such as Haydn or Mozart, who earned his keep with a string of patrons starting with Prince-Archbishop Colloredo of Salzburg. It’s the same today with pop stars taking the cash offered by brands like Coke and Pepsi to pay for their tours or alimony or undisclosed bad habits.

While some stars promote things they believe in—guitars, charities—there is always a longer list of those who would sell out for some unbelievably low rent shit—Rod Stewart pimping shoes, Elton John peddling pinball, the Yardbirds shilling toiletries. Occasionally, there are those who are smart enough to use the brand to sponsor their ambitions, like Lou Rawls who sold Budweiser but used the brand to sponsor his telethons. Neat, but not all of the following are in that category.
When Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck sold perfume in sexist sixties ads: ‘She’s among the Yardbirds. She goes for groups. They go for her. She has her own group too. Named after her. Miss Disc. A very ‘in’ group indeed…’
Late 1960s, Dave Brubeck attempts to convince the gullible to buy Sears-Kenmore products in ads for magazines like Better Homes and Gardens.
Rod the Mod was once famous for his sartorial elegance, but here he is dressed as if Walt Disney puked on him.
More mighty musos shilling for money, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Satan’s daughter is getting baptized tomorrow?
05:04 am


Satan's daughter

“Satan’s mother” placed an advert in Sweden’s daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet on Tuesday announcing the baptism of her daughter Lucy on Saturday 23rd May in Elmsta.

The advert read “Welcome to the world beloved LUCY,” and carried a picture of a cherubic (demonic?) child with dark piercing eyes and 666 kiss curls. The ad included an RSVP email address from “rehtom.snatas”—which as all good occultists know is “Satan’s mother” backwards.

Alas, for all those expecting the end of days, fire, brimstone and alike, the announcement is part of a “guerilla” advertising campaign promoting the Elmsta 3000 Horror Fest.

Some eagle-eyed journalists noted their paper had been duped and carried a story about the advert later that day. This was the second time something unusual had ended up in the paper’s pages recently. On Sunday an essay in the culture section of the paper contained capital letters at the start of each paragraph that spelt out the word “P E N I S.”.

This time the mistake (cock-up?) in the Svenska Dagbladet was picked up by its rival newspaper Göteborgs-Posten RSS.
Via the Local

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Before there were ‘Garbage Pail Kids,’ there were ‘Wacky Packages’
11:31 am


Art Spiegelman
Wacky Packages

Art Spiegelman’s career has produced a wide-ranging body of work. There are punk favorites Garbage Pail Kids trading cards, his comics for Playboy, his New Yorker covers, and (of course) his Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus, a complex and stylized account of his father’s reflections on the Holocaust. Spiegelman has worked in the “highest” and “lowest” of artistic milieus, and while Garbage Pail Kids are probably considered the nadir of his vulgarity, his lesser-known Wacky Packages series are their obvious predecessor.

Drawn primarily by Spiegelman and then painted in full by pulp master Norman Saunders, these parodies of household brands were sold in packs of five with a stick of gum. Although packaged as trading cards, they were actually stickers you could pop out, presumably for easy defacement of public property. The work was juvenile and snide, but this stuff was the Clickhole of the late 1960’s, and although reboots and new series of Wacky Packages were launched in later years (with art by the likes of Kim Deitch, Drew Friedman and Bill Griffith) it’s the early ones from Spiegelman and Saunders that really skewered brands in a fresh, irreverent way.

While Wonder Bread actually ended up including the cards as giveaways to get kids to ask their moms to buy their product, other companies got pretty peeved and tried to sue. As a result, each series only ran for a little while, so the stickers quickly developed a cult following, and are now seriously collected by fans. In fact, in 2013, the Topps company tried to sell the original art for the “Band-Ache” sticker for $1 million!


Plenty more of these critters after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Stunning occult posters of magicians from many decades ago
09:35 am



Kellar. Thurston. Carter. These names are forgotten to us, but once they motivated throngs of people to attend their mystical performances of occult hoodoo and magic. Their posters are models of the seductive appeal, with their bold names and strange images of impossible creatures. The prominence of the name in these posters is far from accidental—only after years of painstaking labor rising up through the ranks might a magician become one of the select handful whose name alone could draw crowds.

Harry Kellar was called the “Dean of American Magicians” and one of his main illusions was the “Levitation of Princess Karnack,” which trick he pilfered from a rival magician by bribing a member of the other guy’s theater staff. He also had a trick that involved decapitating his own head, which would then levitate over the stage.

Howard Thurston (it does sound more alluring without the “Howard,” doesn’t it?) was a partner of Kellar’s, a master of tricks involving playing cards. You can see that one of the posters says “THURSTON: KELLAR’S SUCCESSOR.” Thurston eventually did become the best-known magician in America.

Charles Joseph Carter perfected the classic “sawing a woman in half” illusion and also had an especially macabre trick in which his shrouded body would vanish just as it dropped from the end of a hangman’s noose.

Some of you might remember a diverting 2001 novel called Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold, a thriller, somewhat like Caleb Carr’s The Alienist, about a fictionalized version of Carter.

More magicians, after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The lost art of vintage porno film advertising
07:27 am



Ah, ye olden days of analog porn! During that barbaric, pre-Internet, pre-VCR era of smut, one had to make their way to actual theaters—most of these venues were “adult,” but some were just local cinemas (or even drive-ins) that played the dirty stuff late at night (Imagine being a gleeful teenaged boy—or angry parent—with a house situated behind a drive-in showing X-rated films).

Below you can see some great ads for vintage skin-flicks which (for obvious reasons) could usually only be promoted with handbills or in alternative papers. The aesthetics are delightfully trashy; obviously they couldn’t run explicit images, and the limitations of size and newsprint really relegated the ads more to “design” rather than “art.” Still, there’s excellent use of lascivious little scenes, combined with a whole lotta’ sensational font-work. My favorite is the one with the quote on censorship by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart—sort of makes one feel perversely patriotic, doesn’t it? There are some classics in the mix—the Deep Throat ad is surprisingly humble, while Behind the Green Door is modern and arty. For fun I’ve included Fritz the Cat which, while not a proper porno, was advertised alongside other X-rated material.



More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
This Bud’s for you, headbangers: Ronnie James Dio’s 1983 Budweiser ad
07:20 am


Ronnie James Dio
Vintage ads

Ronnie James Dio
I don’t like beer. It’s not that I didn’t like it “back in the day.” Budweiser was truly the king of all party beverages when I was in high school. Which is also probably the reason I don’t drink beer anymore. Nostalgic thoughts only meaningful to me aside, after I heard this audio clip from a vintage 1983 radio ad that Ronnie James Dio did for Budweiser, I immediately felt the need to raise a tall boy to my lips in honor of the late, great king of metal. When toothing through the comments on YouTube (generally an ill-advised practice at best) someone actually made the observation that there was seemingly nothing Ronnie James Dio could do wrong. Not even when he’s shilling for a beer that tastes like someone took a warm fizzy piss in a can.
Usually when an artist you admire “sells-out,” it’s an utter disappointment. An exception to that rule (and there are a few) would be the super-snappy jingle written by Brian Jones that the Rolling Stones recorded for a 1964 Rice Krispies television commercial. Here’s a line: “You wake up in the morning and there’s a crackle in your face.” Brilliant. The jingle matches the perky cereal’s personality perfectly. As with the Stones, hearing Dio singing the praises of Budweiser to the tune of one of his best-known anthems, “Rainbow in the Dark” is absolutely one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard. The trademark slogan “this Bud’s for you” even gets the heavy metal treatment at the end. Will it make me drink Budweiser again? No. It did however bring me back to days, now long past, when listening to Dio and drinking beer out of cans on a Friday night was all you needed.

Via Metal Injection

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Page 1 of 19  1 2 3 >  Last ›