Back in the Day When They Used to Market Cocaine: These Coke Gear Ads From the Mid-1970s and Early 1980s Are Nuts!

The 1970s, when disco dust was plentiful and there were cocaine paraphernalia ads galore in head magazines. Although the “glamorised” drug wasn’t legal in America, it didn’t stop the drug and tools for doing it being marketed in magazines or newspapers.

Inspired by the hit Netflix series Narcos, a drama about the life of world infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, fans of the crime drama decided to do some investigating of their own and dug up “coke gear” ads from drug magazines published between 1976 to 1981, posting the collection on The World’s Best Ever.

Here are some of the advertising from the coke era between 1976 and 1981.



16 Sexist and Racist Vintage Advertisements That Are Shocking Today

These vintage advertisements are from Beyond Belief, a book by art collector and former advertising executive Charles Saatchi, which brings together the most shocking advertising campaigns of the last century. From racism and sexism to dodgy health claims, nothing was out of bounds for the real-life Mad Men.

“In the middle of the last century, marketing men had few qualms about creating brutally offensive advertisements…It proved a grimly amusing task to find so many examples that I could collect together; they provide a clear insight into the world of the ‘Mad Men’ generation and the consumers they were addressing. Although many of the advertisements selected are alarming they present an important portrait of society in the 1940s and ‘50s.” – Charles Saatchi.

Misogynistic, racist, unscientific, dishonest and just plain bizarre, these ads demonstrate how our attitudes towards women, race, tobacco, personal hygiene and drugs have changed over the years.












20 Vintage Red Man Chewing Tobacco Ads

The Red Man brand of chewing tobacco was first introduced to the US in 1904. Promotional activities tied-in with rural and outdoor sporting events was a main stay of Red Man s marketing strategy. From 1952 to 1955, Red Man produced a series of baseball cards, the only tobacco company to do so after 1920. The sets are valuable due to the appearance of top players including Stan Musial, Yogi Berra and Willie Mays.1 Red Man also sponsored other sporting events such as Red Man All-American Pulling Series, a tractor pulling competition and the “Red Man All-American Bass Championship”, a fishing competition.













National League Player #25. Willie Mays, Outfield, New York Giants. The return of Willie from his hitch in the Army bodes good things for the 1954 Giants. When Willie joined the team in 1951, after hitting.477 for 35 games in Minneapolis – the Giants weren’t doing so well. however, as all fans know, they wound up the year with a pennant. Willie loves to play ball, and his fielding is wonderful . He once caught a ball on the run in deep center at the Polo Grounds, whirled and threw a perfect strike to the plate to catch a man trying to score from third after the catch. This was in a vital game with Brooklyn in 1951.

American League Player #17. Joe Coleman, Pitcher, Baltimore Orioles. Joe made a fine comeback in 1954, overcoming a sore arm that had threatened to finish his career. He appeared in 33 games for the Orioles, a weak hitting team, and won 13, losing 17. He gave up 184 hits in 221 innings pitched, and struckout 103. The preceding season with the Philadelphia Athletics Joe appeared in 24 games, winning 3 and losing 4.

(Courtesy of Stanford Research)

You might like these old Camel Cigarette ads that show doctors smoking cigarettes!

27 Reefer Madness Posters From 1930s Will Make You Cry Laughing!

Originally, Reefer Madness was the title of a 1930s American propaganda film that told the story of how an entire high school student body was introduced to smoking marijuana cigarettes (also known as, reefers).  However, while the film was intentioned as a cautionary tale to parents about the grave and immoral consequences of allowing their kids to smoke marijuana (i.e. murder, kidnapping, rape, automotive homicide), it was soon made satire by critics and advocates alike. Following its release, a series of Reefer Madness-provoked images, novels, songs, and movie posters became popular. Many of these images and posters were distinctly labeled with Adult Only warnings, featured explicit images of devilish creatures and seduced females, distressed male and female figures, and satirical text describing the wrecked lives and shattered hopes of those who smoke marijuana (e.g. Marijuana Girl, Marijuana Insanity, Reefer Blues ). The caricatures on the fronts of these advertisements were drawn with dramatic and popping colors of red, blue, and yellow (e.g. the clown in The Circus of Reefer Madness ), large block-shaped text (e.g. Road to Ruin), and the fiery red background motif resembling assorted items including fire, danger, the Devil, passion, etc. Characteristically, the contents of the posters drew from the original films other names, including: The Burning Question, Dope Addict, Doped Youth, and Love Madness.  Additionally, the aftermath of Reefer Madness spanned new productions such as Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical and the song Reefer man. Thus, Reefer Madness, as well as the influence of two other films Marihuana (1936) and Assassin of Youth (1937) dictated the public perception of marijuana in the 1960s.























14 Must See Camel Knock-Off Anti-Smoking Ads

Tobacco brand advertisements are among the most spoofed in advertising history, particularly for anti-smoking campaigns. Perhaps this is because the success of cigarette advertising has been immense. RJ Reynold s Joe Camel was extremely successful at establishing itself as a household name. By age 6, an equal number of children were able to recognize Joe Camel and its association with cigarettes as Mickey Mouse with the Disney Channel, even though cigarette ads had been banned from television before their lifetime. Though Joe Camel s campaign only ran from 1987 to 1997, this era saw an increase in Camel s market share of cigarettes among children from 0.5% to 32.8%, with estimated sales of $476 million per year. If such brands are so successful at bringing positive attention to a harmful product through advertisements, then the same advertisements, altered to present a different message, can be used to ruin the product s image as well. This is the basis of using knock-offs or spoofs as a form of anti-smoking advertisement.





Spoof ads are considered subvertisements, and have been dubbed a type of culture jamming by Adbusters, an anti-consumerism organization that created Joe Chemo ads. Whereas advertisements are meant to enhance the image of a product , subvertising uses irony and sarcasm to criticize and mock the product.

The research that has been done on other anti-tobacco campaign strategies may apply to these spoofs and give us an idea of their effectiveness. One study evaluated the reactions to spoofs by evaluating Youtube comments on ad spoofs, and it seems that most of the ads invoke humor, rather than fear, empathy, or anger (8). It is uncertain whether humor enhances the effectiveness of the ads. In focus groups, humor seems to increase the likability of an ad, which aids in recall). However, likability doesn’t necessarily translate into altered behaviors, and there is a possibility that humor distracts viewers from the intended message.






Another study showed that children were more likely to pay attention to a message that featured familiar characters . Using recognizable icons like Joe Camel or the Marlboro Man, two of the more popular choices for knock-off ads, will draw more attention to the ad and make people stop and look twice. But again, more attention doesn’t necessarily mean the ads are more effective in reducing smoking, especially if the ads generate negative responses. The smoking status of the viewer influences how the viewer will respond. Someone who doesn’t smoke and does not find smoking appealing with have a positive reaction to the ad and be more likely to recall the ad, while someone who smokes will be less accepting of the anti-smoking information. This may mean that spoofs may not be very effective at changing smoker s beliefs and reducing intentions to smoke.

Though the persuasiveness of these ads has not been confirmed by research, the industries targeted by subvertisements feel threatened. Tobacco industry perception of potential damage may be an indicator of the power of the spoof ads. Legal action in Canada has been taken against Adbusters to prevent the group from airing their other spoofs on television. TV stations believe that subvertisements are influential enough to eliminate the rest of their sponsors. The resistance is towards subvertisements targeting other consumer products like fast food and alcohol, because previous anti-tobacco campaigns have already resulted in the restriction of tobacco ads on TV, so those sponsors are not a concern for the TV industry.




You might also like 30 Old Ads That Claimed That Doctors Smoked Camel Cigarettes More Than Any Other

18 Shocking E-Cigarette Ads Targeting Teenagers

Electronic Cigarette (e-cig) companies are increasingly targeting teenagers, who are often trailblazers of new trends and role models for younger adolescents. In courting young trendsetters, e-cig manufacturers predominantly utilize advertising imagery and slogans that appeal to the teens sense of freedom and rebellion.

An ad for Blu e-cigs features an angry, middle-aged woman, flipping her middle finger to smoking bans. The headline for the ad reads “Dear Smoking Ban” and the rest of the ad text says, “Take back your freedom to smoke anywhere with Blu electronic cigarettes.” Modern Vapor has an ad of a woman reclining with an e-hookah in her hand. The slogan of the ad says, Smoke in No Smoking Zones. A NicStick advertisement focuses on the no smoking sign of a coffee shop. The text above the image says, Beat the Smoking Bans. Smoke Anywhere with electronic cigarettes.
The e-cig industry is also keen to create a cool, hip image for its products through advertisements. Many ads are clearly targeted at hipsters who have a tendency to buck social norms and be anti-establishment. In an online ad for Njoy, rocker Courtney Love, wearing a silk dress, her makeup slightly smeared, is shown vaping at an opera house while a conservatively dressed older woman looks on with a horrified expression. When the older woman starts to protest, Courtney turns around and in an expletive-laced sentence tells the woman that she is not smoking but vaping an e-cigarette. The same brand also has an online video of a self-identified hipster with his red beard promoting the product.

Many other freedom based ads for e-cigs depict the freedom and pleasure of youth with images such as dancing and partying. The message that accompanies many of these ads is focused on the delight of rewriting the rules and breaking conventional norms. While e-cigarette manufacturers promise many freedoms to their consumers, the one freedom that they cannot promise is freedom from nicotine addiction.

30 Crazy Old Cigarette Ads Claimed That “More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette”

One common technique used by the tobacco industry to reassure a worried public was to incorporate images of physicians in their ads. The none-too-subtle message was that if the doctor, with all of his expertise, chose to smoke a particular brand, then it must be safe. Unlike with celebrity and athlete endorsers, the doctors depicted were never specific individuals, because physicians who engaged in advertising would risk losing their license. (It was contrary to accepted medical ethics at the time for doctors to advertise.) Instead, the images always presented an idealized physician wise, noble, and caring who enthusiastically partook of the smoking habit. All of the doctors in these ads came out of central casting from among actors dressed up to look like doctors. Little protest was heard from the medical community or organized medicine, perhaps because the images showed the profession in a highly favorable light. This genre of ads regularly appeared in medical journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association, an organization which for decades collaborated closely with the industry. The big push to document health hazards also did not arrive until later.

The ads in this particular theme are all from a single R. J. Reynolds campaign which ran from 1940 to 1949 and claimed that More Doctors smoke Camels. In the majority of these advertisements, the More Doctors campaign slogan was included alongside other popular Camel campaigns such as T-Zone ( T for Throat, T for Taste ), More people are smoking Camels than ever before, and Experience is the Best Teacher. In this way, Camel was able to maintain consistency across its advertisements.

Within the More Doctors campaign, a story can be told through a series of advertisements. The story documents a young boy s journey following in his father s footsteps into the field of medicine. In the first ad of this series, an obstetrician tells his little boy, Now Daddy has to go to another birthday party, son as he leaves his son s party to deliver a baby. Next, a doctor tells his grown-up boy, It s all up to you, son, as the young man decides whether or not to follow a career in medicine. Then, the young medical student, class of 46, is joined by his father, class of 06 during a lecture. Later, the young man is an interne, not quite on his own yet. Finally, he is seen opening up his very own private practice in the company of his adoring wife. This storyline, though not explicit, works to further portray the doctor as a family man and a determined, committed, self-sacrificing individual.

In an attempt to substantiate the More Doctors claim, R.J. Reynolds paid for surveys to be conducted during medical conventions using two survey methods: Doctors were gifted free packs of Camel cigarettes at tobacco company booths and them upon exiting the exhibit hall, were then immediately asked to indicate their favorite brand or were asked which cigarette they carried in their pocket.

(Via Stanford Education)

Put Boobs On It! Sex Sells 1970 Album Covers

In the 1960s-1980s, if you wanted to sell your record, the most reliable method may have been to simply put a pair of boobs on the cover.  It was a variation on the “sex sells” approach – you might call it “chests sells”.  Whether it was subtle cleavage or loud-and-proud bosoms, we know the strategy worked simply because it was used so unbelievably often – with EZ Listening artists being the prime culprits.

L) Gitti wanted to keep it classy, but Erika said, “To hell with that. There are bills to pay.” (R) Sold! Even though I’ll probably hate the music, I can’t think of a reason not to buy this album of Scandinavian folk music.



More faceless women and their boobs as album cover centerpieces.
In case you haven’t picked up on the pattern – almost none of these cleavage-bearing ladies are actually the artist featured on the albums. This ain’t Victor Lazlo – his sorry visage is lucky to even appear on the back cover.









The record on the left is by a group called The Cuarto Hombres. Needless to say, none of the “four guys” made the cut for the front cover. At right, Serena Grandi is busting out front and center… Simon Boswell is MIA.
That’s not Marin Denny, and that’s not Fred Weyrich. But that’s not to say no female musicians and singers opted to flaunt their assets for record sales. A few more examples…


This album by Elkie Brooks often makes the top ten of ‘worst album covers’ lists. I think this is primarily due to the fact that Ms. Brooks was and is a well-respected artist and her spastic-breast-exposing-contortion seemed unbecoming and “beneath” such a talent. I happen to love it.

You might also like this 1970s forgotten album cover art.

Vintage Photos Show Amazing Vancouver Neon Signs and Streets Scenes in 1950s

Man with Bandage
Self Portait 1961
Self Portait (Fred Herzog), 1961

These colorful photos show what Vancouver’s Upper East Side and downtown looked like in its’ glory days of the 1950’s.  The photographer captures a city basking in the glow of neon signs.

The Vancouver photographs of Fred Herzog are awash with vibrant color. They are complex, mysterious, exuberant, and full of life, much like the city he photographed. Fred Herzog was born in 1930 in Germany, and came to Vancouver in 1953. He was employed as a medical photographer by day, and on evenings and weekends he took his camera to the streets, documenting daily life as he observed it. Focusing his camera on storefronts, neon signs, billboards, cafes and crowds of people, he eloquently depicts the architecture of the street as a framework for human interaction, presenting a view of the city that is both critical and elegiac.

Though Fred Herzog has been making photographs for decades, his images of city life in Vancouver in the 1950’s and 1960’s have only recently been brought to a larger public. A major retrospective at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2007 was a revelation to those who had known his work only through slides, as well as to a generation of art lovers who had not heard of him at all. Since he was never able to satisfactorily make prints from his slides, the recent possibilities of digital inkjet printing have enabled him to finally print and exhibit this important body of early color street photography.


“Herzog’s world — especially as revealed by the abundance of signs — is simultaneously covetous and quasi religious, sensual and unworldly. Gamblers at a fair or casino gaze beyond the frame in an ecstasy of optimism, keeping faith with the idea of an against-the-odds windfall (a.k.a. a miracle).

The relatively lengthy shutter speeds necessitated by Kodachrome — a slow, not very light-sensitive film — meant that Herzog was not only temperamentally unsuited but technically unable to snap events on the fly in the sly manner of Cartier-Bresson. Drama passed him by. He waited for time either to slow down or to come to a functional standstill. In lieu of the fast time of second hands and their snatched fractions, a strong sense of photographic history can be seen to converge on Herzog’s work.

Herzog, born in Germany in 1930, immigrated to Canada in 1952. Although he took some photographs in various places in the world, Vancouver remained his colorful stamping ground from the late 1950s onward. As with Leiter, the sense of a distinct and determining sensibility is enhanced by the relatively limited geographical frame of reference. Because the same bits of real estate crop up in multiple frames, a given view can be triangulated with other shots so that we are enclosed within an artist’s world. To look at Herzog’s work is to inhabit it.”

Hastings at Columbia, 1958
Hastings at Columbia, 1958



(via Equinox Gallery)

You might like these photos of Vintage neon signs from Hollywood’s Golden Era.

18 Never Seen Vintage Coke Signs

These intriguing vintage Coke signs shows this beloved soft drink has been around for quite awhile – 131 years to be exact.  It was invented in 1886 by a Civil War vet named John Pemberton. Coca Cola was originally intended as a medical treatment for his addiction to morphine.  Among other things, Pemberton claimed Coca-Cola cured many diseases, including indigestion, nerve disorders, headaches, and impotence!  Today vintage Coke signs are highly collectible items.

Coke sign, Henderson, North Carolina, 1979
Coke sign, Beeville, Texas, 1979
Farmer’s Food Market, Drexel Ave. at 63rd St., Chicago, Illinois, 2009, with mural by RK Design
An old, or at least old-style, drug store sign in Galveston, Texas, 2014
Faded Coca-Cola sign on the side of the Emporium western-wear store, and above an incongruous sidewalk bathtub, in Gonzales, Texas, 2014
Vintage Coca-Cola sign on an outside wall of a grocery store in Oakville, north of Napa in California’s Napa Valley, 2012
Coca-Cola sign on the side of a Mexican restaurant near the Stockyards District of Fort Worth, Texas , 2014
Old Coca-Cola sign on a building in Pipe Creek, a small community in Bandera County, Texas, 2014.
Old, but refurbished, or, as the message says, “refreshed” Coca-Cola sign in Lafayette, Indiana , 2016.
Red Coca Cola sign in San Francisco, California, 2012.
Vintage Coca-Cola sign in downtown Pueblo, Colorado, 2015.
Vintage Coca-Cola sign in Cedarville, California, 2013
Coca Cola Bottling Company, giant Coke bottle corner detail, 14th & Central Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 1977.
Gilmore Locker Coke sign, Main Street, Gilmore City, Iowa
Bus Station Coke sign, Newton, Mississippi, 1979.
Natchez, Miss.
Photograph shows store or cafe with soft drink signs: Coca-Cola, Orange-Crush, Royal Crown, Double Cola, and Dr. Pepper.
1940 August
Vintage Coke signs  in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Photograph shows Coca-Cola sign in foreground.
Delano, Jack, photographer
1941 Dec.
Vintage Coke signs in Natchez, Miss.
Photograph shows store with soft drink signs. Diamond-shaped sign: Fresh Orange-Crush”; above it: Relax and enjoy Royal Crown Cola.
Wolcott, Marion Post, 1910-1990, photographer
1940 August

Natchez, Miss.
Photograph shows store with soft drink signs: Coca-Cola, Orange-Crush, Royal Crown, Double Cola, and Dr. Pepper.
Created /
1940 August

If you liked these vintage Coke signs check out these old motel signs from the 1950s.