Goodbye, Summer, and Hello, School: Advertising Flashback

Photo: Pinterest

Goodbye, late sunsets and crisp white linen. It’s that time again: the last weeks of summer. Social media feeds overflow with children holding “First Day of [Insert Your Grade Here]” signs. In honor of the waning days of Summer 2018, and in tribute to the back-to-school rush, we’re taking a look at seasonal advertisements from the past. Enjoy!

A sensational summer spread

Photo: Pinterest

There’s nothing that says “hot summer night” more than sliced SPAM layered with cream cheese. (I’m joking.) Get crazy, and serve it with deviled eggs on a bed of iceberg lettuce. In 1951, the ribbon loaf was a surefire supper or “noteworthy appetizer.” (Ew, gross.)

Ew, germs

Photo: bambootrading

More than pent-up hormones (a.k.a. “whispers and giggles,” according to the ad copy) fill the air of this science class. There’s “all the yucky things that kids just love to touch.” Protect against frogs, cooties, kids, and bright striped shirts with this 1993 antibacterial soap ad.

Stock up on credit card debt

Photo: greyflannelsuit

You have no idea how many things you need to buy to fill a happy kid’s locker! It’s their “home away from home” as well as a “supply depot” according to this 1969 Master Charge ad. Inside you’ll discover “golf sticks, measuring sticks, hockey sticks, and gym shoes …. And maybe even a book.”

He’s smokin’ hot

Photo: MeTV

This young man gives credit to Old Gold cigarettes for his popularity among the colorfully clad women on campus. He’s not alone. Carl, an accountant from Lynbrook (pictured in the ad’s lower right), says the new tobacco makes him “enjoy smoking more than formerly.” You’re quite a conversationalist, Carl.

Let’s cool things down now


In the 1920s, consumers learned that an electric fan is “as refreshing as a summer shower.” While you may wonder if a cool breeze feels the same as a hot rain, rest assured that it does. (?!) This fan brings “higher efficiency to the office and pleasure to your home.” Now that’s cool.

High style with … white socks?

Photo: greyflannelsuit

Not 100% clear what’s happening on the pants leg here, but white socks with black shoes will make anyone stand out in a crowded stadium. (I’m kidding.) Choose “stripe-top” socks in your school colors to “feel fine” and “good looking.” Hard to resist.

Shine my shoes, Mom

Photo: bladecreativebranding

Super shiny shoes! For school! I’m sure today’s mom would love to shine Billy’s loafers just once every seven days. Luckily, “there’s nothing like Shinola” for back-to-school time. So shine em’ up, kids!

No swimming with crackers

Photo: PeriodPaper

No swimming allowed … for these crunchy crackers. At the end of a long, foggy San Francisco August, this ad is a reminder to make time to relax “for a few minutes” – it’s truly “a grand idea.” Simply set your crackers on the very edge of the nearest swimming hole, and dive in.

As the season winds down, we hope your crackers stay crisp and your socks stay high. Thank you for taking this summer stroll down advertising’s memory lane, hand in germ-free hand. Don’t forget to take a sliver of SPAM for the road.