Christmas in July….er…April!

Be His Christmas Eve - 1965 Frederick's of Hollywood Catalog

Serving as an advertisement for a lingerie boutique in Hollywood, sex appeal is used to sell the product. The sex appeal comes in the form of a conventionally beautiful woman in the product. Coming from 1965, the ad shows that sex has always been used to sell product. The product adds an interesting historical context to show the basis for some of the sexism in advertising that is often complained about, even today. Interestingly enough though, this ad is actually marketed to women, rather than presenting women as the prize to men. In fact, this advertisement is telling women to become the prize for that Christmas Eve. Also, the advice is coming from a fellow woman. With the woman desirable to men, it is assumed that the women looking at the advertisement will take the woman’s advice to heart and purchase the product to become “his christmas eve”.


What Women Want

Coming from 1953, this Hoover ad, once again shows the sexism in today’s ads must have come from somewhere. Like the previous advertisement, the message uses a woman as the focal point. Unlike the previous advertisement though, it is not necessarily spoke to women. The audience is likely intended to be men searching for a present to buy their wives for the holiday. However, the advertisement does enforce gender roles by claiming the wife will be happy to do traditionally feminine duties of keeping house. The image of a pleased woman by the gift enforces this notion.


Yet another vintage holiday ad, this particular advertisement is for 7up beverages comes from 1957. Coming from the same era as the previous advertisements, this one is devoid of sexist stereotyping. Rather, it uses the promise of inclusion and a good time to sell itself. With the image of a party with plenty of attractive, smiling people, the drink can become associated with a good time with good company. Such a positive association increases motivation and desire to buy the product. This is made even more effective with the fact that the target audience seems to be a general one, and by extension reaches and affects more people. Interestingly enough, the lack of text can also be argued as effective as it allows the viewer more freedom in interpretation. So long as they take notice of the prominently featured 7up, it is likely the positive association will be embedded into the viewer and during the next trip to the store, they will be inclined to pick up a case of 7up.


Once again, the power of inclusion is used in this advertisement. However, this product is much more harmful than any of the others shown before. As we know today, tobacco has many negative effects on health, but in this advertisement the cigarettes are displayed as an object that allows the buyer to join in with a gang of attractive, smiling people, therefore an object of desire. The holiday flair allows even more positive association, as if to say the holidays are not complete without a lucky strike cigarette. It even offers a play on words with “lucky new year” to encourage people to buy their product. This advertisement probably seemed harmless enough back in its day, but with modern advancements and knowledge, it’s a rather dark irony.


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