Last Saturday was a typical Saturday for me, crate digging in the local thrift shops. One of my hard-and-fast rules of vinyl thrifting is always buy any never-before-seen oddball platter if it’s a dollar or less. You simply never know when you’re going to stumble across that undiscovered “break” that some hotshot DJ will fork over major-league cash for, or in this case, something so truly bizarre and wrongheaded that it warrants sharing with the rest of the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, behold the album unearthed this past Saturday: a sealed copy of 20 of the World’s Best Advertisements.
Procured for a mere 50 cents, this record was released in 1967 by the Chuck Blore Creative Services ad agency. Ostensibly the album is a promotional tool for the agency, collecting the “world’s best” ads from the time of Mad Men; but as I learned from needle dropping the first three tracks, the men who produced these ads were really (really) mad.
These radio spots produced for DWG Cigar Corporation for their RG Dun line of cigars are a clear reaction to the Women’s Liberation Movement of the time, and they are absolutely jaw-dropping in their over-the-top misogyny. They certainly don’t make ‘em like this anymore, folks!
Not merely sexist, these ads essentially advocate violence against any henpecking harpy who would dare to ask her husband to extinguish his malodorous cheroot. Tune in and experience the acrid, sooty stench of a very different American cultural milieu.
In the first of the three ads, a man who has “had it up to here with all of this female equality bunk” throws his wife into a closet which is made into a “national shrine” by browbeaten men the world over. Truly a hero for the Men’s Rights Activists of his day, he is advised by a macho voice-over to “kick over her vanity table on the way out the door.”
In the second spot, a man at a restaurant nonchalantly asks the maitre d’ to throw his nagging wife out the window when she objects to his cigar. His request is followed by the sound of female screams and breaking glass, apparently she has been physically hurled through the front window of the establishment.The man, now a national hero, advises his followers to “keep a cigar in your face and a woman in her place!”
In the third commercial, the “Take a Cigar Stand” movement is sweeping the country and one brave activist declares “The American male is finally standing up for his rights. Today, if a woman objects to a man smoking his cigar, he doesn’t put it out… he puts her out.” A tacky Bob Dylan clone sings that “a woman has no sense of humidor” and an all-male Broadway cast sings “Don’t wait for my return, dear. I’m smoking while you burn, dear.”
These ads are a window into a time when men were truly threatened by female equality and certainly put into perspective the 1968 debut of Virginia Slims cigarettes and their famous ad campaign marketed toward women: “You’ve come a long way, baby.”