“The harder a wife works, the cuter she looks!” Can you imagine opening up an issue of People magazine or Vogue and seeing those words, once upon a time displayed in an ad for Kellogg’s PEP vitamins? Thankfully, times have changed, and those words are shocking for us to read, and nowadays there are campaigns such as Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign and Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty that empower women rather than degrade them with politically incorrect ads.
However, that wasn’t always the case, and not too long ago, many ad campaigns were incredibly chauvinistic and promoted unhealthy behaviors including smoking and even cocaine use! Check out the politically incorrect ads below and just try not to cringe.
21.) Make Your Woman Serve You
We can’t even tell what this ad is promoting! The tie?
Rule #1 of politically incorrect ads: Don’t do them.
Rule #2: If you’re insistent upon running politically incorrect ads, at least make it clear what they’re promoting!
20.) Women Shouldn’t Have Curves
“Girls with too much bottom and too little top: Warner’s can reshape you.”
Wow, talk about body shaming! It’s not just another example of politically incorrect ads, it’s hurtful (and wrong).
19.) Cellophane Wrap Those Babies (And Hope They Don’t Suffocate)
Why in the world Du Pont would promote using cellophane on children is beyond us. Thankfully, times have changed and warning labels now come on plastic film.
Whoever this advertising firm is should be fired. We can think of so many other good ways to promote cellophane: wrapping fruit, covering leftovers, etc.
18.) Ladies, You’re Actually Useful!
If only they had stopped at the beginning. It starts out making women proud that they can participate in the war efforts, but that last line just killed it!
Take a look at this ad below – we much prefer this stance!
17.) Toy Cigarettes: So They Can Follow in Their Father’s Footsteps
Anyone 30 and up can likely remember playing with candy cigarettes as a kid. They tasted good, they made us think we were ‘cool’ and gave us a glimpse into what we thought our teenage years would look like.
Oh, how wrong that was! Can you imagine giving a 5-year-old candy cigarette today? Or, walking down the street and seeing a child smoking a ‘toy cigarette’?
16.) A Woman’s Place Is in The Kitchen
So many of the politically incorrect ads we found promoted the idea that a woman’s place was solely in the home cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids – yikes!
This woman looks so happy, but we bet if she knew the copy they’d apply to that photo, she’d have been cringing inside!
15.) Eat My Chiquita Banana
Kids should never be used to promote phallic ads.
The little boy with a menacing look on his face, the little girl holding the bunch of bananas while he shoves one in her mouth. This just looks wrong, and is.
14.) Women Are Terrible Drivers
“Women are soft and gentle, but they hit things.” What a backhanded compliment!
If we want to look at facts, you see an entirely different story. According to US Insurance Agents, women are actually better drivers than men: “The IIHS HLDI found that twice as many males as females across all ages have had fatal crashes since 1975. In 2014, 10,971 male drivers died in fatal crashes versus 4,504 female drivers.”
13.) Move Over, Milk – Soda Is Actually Best For Babies
Why on Earth would anyone think giving soda to a baby was okay – much less promote it in advertising? Please, parents: Do not do this.
This is not just one of the politically incorrect ads, it’s a health hazard that will rot your children’s teeth and likely leave them bouncing off the walls from all that sugar consumption!
12.) Take Your Doctor’s Advice: Smoke
Can you imagine in this day and age, your doctor telling you to smoke his favorite brand of cigarettes?!
We’re glad times have changed, and cigarette companies warn their customers that “smoking kills,” rather than glorify it in politically incorrect ads. It still baffles us that in this day and age, with all that we know, some doctors smoke.
11.) Hey, Big Ladies: We Have Clothes in Your Size!
Can you believe a female-founded and led company would approve an ad whose tagline was “calling all chubbies”?!
Lane Bryant, a women’s retailer focusing solely on a plus-sized demographic, has been around since 1904, when it was founded by young widow Lena Bryant. Happily, its taglines have gotten better with age and now promote “WhatReal Women Wear” and #PlusIsEqual. We can’t imagine the backlash if the retailer came out with an ad labeling its core demographic as “chubbies” today.
10.) Give a Man What He Wants: Your Beauty, Not Your Brains
At first glance, this was a bit shocking, but if you keep reading, it does get a bit better: “Brains or beauty? – but why choose? Combine beauty with cleverness, charm, and wisdom.”
Okay, just a bit better. It’s still completely un-PC, but at least it has a few redeeming qualities.
9.) Because Wives Always Seem To Burn Dinner
Whatever – men burn dinner just as often as women do!
What’s interesting to note is if you Google “are men or women better cooks?” you’ll see men are deemed to be better cooks – yet in a completely non-evidence-based, un-PC way! Just when we thought the days of politically incorrect ads were over, the sentiments continue.
According to tasteessence.com, “men do tend to put in few more hours when it comes to learning something that they enjoy doing.” Oh, because women don’t?
8.) KFC: A Woman’s Best Friend
We’ll admit, we kind of enjoyed this one.
While it’s still not PC to say “Wife-Savers,” takeout has saved us many times when we don’t feel like cooking! How about just “Family Dinner Saver” or “Sunday Night Saver”? Or even, “I have better things to do today than cook”?
7.) It’s So Easy, Even A Woman Can Do it!
Come on – everyone has trouble opening those ketchup bottles! We can’t name one person weknow – male or female – who hasn’t struggled at least one time with a glass ketchup bottle or a jar of pickles.
6.) So … She Belongs At Your Foot?
In case you’ve forgotten first two rules of politically incorrect advertising, please refer back to #1.
This one left us baffled, as we’re really not certain what they’re trying to convey (or even who the company is). She belongs on the floor, staring at your shoes? It’s completely nonsensical.
5.) If You Don’t Buy Good Coffee, Your Husband Will Beat You
Domestic violence is never OK, and using it as a point of “humor” in an ad is wrong on so many levels.
This isn’t cute, it’s not funny, and after seeing this, we’re grateful Chase & Sandborn sold out to another company so we never have to see their promotions again.
4.) Woo Her With Your Second-Hand Smoke
More like, “Blow in her face, and we hope she slaps you.”
The only thing worse than doctors promoting smoking is companies telling people it makes them more attractive. In case you have any doubts, let us reiterate: Smoking is gross, it’s not attractive, no one wants to kiss a smoker, and it will kill you. Don’t do it.
3.) Got a Toothache? Just Rub Cocaine on it!
While we’re sure cocaine would kill the pain of a toothache, we imagine the side effects of drug addiction make it completely not worth it!
In fairness, though, this company wasn’t the first to mainstream cocaine (i.e., coca leaf products). After all, Coca-Cola was named for its two original ingredients, kola nuts (a source of caffeine) and coca leaves, and historical evidence suggests that the original recipe did, in fact, include cocaine!
2.) Promoting Underage Beauty
There are simply no words for this kind of ad.
It’s a good thing that Lolita jokes are now completely offensive and un-PC, as is this ad. Using underage girls – or the idea of them – in a remotely sexual light, for advertising purposes is just disgusting.
1.) The Secret To Beauty? Cleaning Your House!
To be honest, if housework were the secret to wrinkle-free skin and the fountain of youth, men and women alike would be begging to do more! But, alas, that’s not the case, and this is yet another example of how politically incorrect ads demean women.
Want more cringe-worthy advertising? Check out The Top 5 Most Offensive Ad Campaigns.
Have you come across any politically incorrect ads that made you cringe? Share them in the comments! Or, click “Next Story” below for something new to make you smile.