Nourishing Beer & Calming Cigarettes: 6 Vintage Ads With Kids That Are So Bad, They’re Good

Mamma, today I saw a diaper ad on TV where you have to keep doing susu for 12 hours. 12 hours.” I Don’t think the then 3-year-old had understood the actual meaning of the ad, but there he was, a young sponge-like consumer of advertising, ripe for the taking.

Now he is 4 and tells me from time to time how a certain beverage will make him grow taller while another might help him swing upside down from the jungle gym.

That’s usually my cue as his google-savvy mother, to instantly whip out my phone and type ‘malt beverage leading to height gain.’ Let it not be said that I came in the way of him getting taller or smarter. While Google (usually) rescues me from these situations, spare a thought for the mothers back in the 60s and 70s. When they were the target audience for clever ad agencies that used bonny babies to sell everything from cigarettes to beer. Here’s a walk down memory lane … aka ‘When advertisers were probably high on the cocaine they were trying to sell to children’

  1. Livin La Vida Coca 
    No doubt, life in the 60s was badass. With some sunshine in their pockets and some cocaine in their toothache drops, the 60s kids were always ready to face all odds. I mean, which mother would say no to an ‘instantaneous cure’ to teething problems.

    2. When Baby Needs A ‘Pick Me Up’


Now what kind of mother would you be if you didn’t ‘nourish’ your child with the malt in the beer. How would he ever get smart if you didn’t ‘stimulate’ his growing mind with the hops from the beer? And imagine how much easier it would be to bond with baby, if both of you could unwind together with a pint or two. Skin to skin be damned.

3. For The Love Of Colaunnamed

This is the magic of cola. While we new age mums spend hours debating bottle, sippy cups, and straws, those 60s and 70s mums had it sorted. Not only is the 6 month old drinking on his own from a cup, he soon graduates to holding his own glass bottle and chugging away.

4. A Good Baby Is The One Who Understands Your Nicotine Urges 


Every time I get exasperated and want to scold my son, I pause, take a deep breath and count to ten. Now I know I’m doing it wrong, because all I need to do it take a deep breath … of a cigarette.


5. A Blaze Of Guns And Glory 


Because nothing, NOTHING, screams safe like this image of an eerie doll cast aside and a little girl holding her gun instead for comfort.

6. Screen Time Is The Best Time 


Actually, I need to keep this ad away from my son. He has already been trying to convince me of the benefits of uninterrupted TV time. I don’t need him seeing this and telling me how life was truly better in the ‘good old days.’

When not answering the incessant question of her 4-year-old, Priyanka Bhattacharya Dutt is a journalist and co-founder of Tura Turi, an art-inspired children’s merchandise brand

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