Baby Boomers: Do You Remember These TV Commercials of the '50s & '60s?

Kennita Leon

Image: haikarate4 Via Youtube / DwighttFrye Via Youtube / All Classic Video Via Youtube / TheShootingstar31 Via Youtube

About This Quiz

When television first came to be, it was only natural that advertising would follow- after all, it was already being done on the radio. Television commercials, also known as ads, are clips that companies pay television studios to air for the public to see. The point of these ads is to convey a message or to get consumers to buy something. Today, ads are incredibly expensive, especially during the Super Bowl, but it wasn't always that way. 

In the 1950s and '60s, the average ad was a minute long. As time passed, the ads got shorter and shorter, going down to 15 seconds by the 1980s. Back in the day, if a show was meant to be an hour long, nine of those minutes were dedicated to ads.

Even the style of the ads over 50 years ago has changed. Today, the Flinstones are in adverts showing vitamin gummies, while 50 years ago, they were in ads for beer. Back then, ad makers were not as sensitive to discrimination and racial stereotypes as they are today. Do you remember the other ads of those two decades? Can you tell us what was being advertised if we show you a still of the clip? Let's find out!

What was being advertised here?

This ad focuses on advertising the Motorola television set and other brand products, such as the TV cabinet. It emphasizes how perfectly they all fit into the home and tells the audience of all the celebrities they can watch in action on the clear, sharp television screen.

What was being advertised here?

One Hour in Wonderland Coca-Cola (1950) - One Hour in Wonderland was Walt Disney's first television show, and it was sponsored by Coca-Cola. It premiered on Christmas Day in 1950 as a Disney Tea Party and promotion of the upcoming "Alice in Wonderland" film.

What was being advertised here?

This 1961 Christmas ad served as a promotion of Hoover products. It shows an elated woman cleaning her home after opening her Christmas presents and discovering that she had been gifted the Hoover Constellation Vacuum Cleaner.

What was being advertised here?

Having been gifted with a Chevrolet Impala, an enthusiastic young man takes his new wheels out for a spin with his girlfriend; the two drive off in style in the new sleek ride.

What was being advertised here?

Colonel Sanders starred in this commercial to promote his legendary finger-lickin' good Kentucky Fried Chicken. Before joining his family at the table, he reveals the unique ingredients of his special recipe and implores everyone to try out his chicken.

What was being advertised here?

Radioactive products were commonly sold in the 1940s and '50s. In this ad, Dorothy Gray claims this cold cream is the ideal means of removing dirt from skin, cleansing "2 and a half times more thoroughly than any soap."

What was being advertised here?

The ad starts off with a Cheerios kid coming to the rescue of a young boy trapped to a log in the water. The brave Cheerios Kid gets her zeal from her cereal that gives her super strength and strong bones.

What was being advertised here?

No thanks to the media industry, women are always vying to stay slim or lose weight. Claiming that it has no more calories than half a grapefruit, the ad says the carbonated drink will not only shed those extra pounds but reduce the urge to binge on carbs.

What was being advertised here?

Anita Bryant and The Brothers Four show off the 1950's king size Coca-Cola, portraying it as the perfect drink. "King size Coke has more for you" she sings, "refreshing you with a very big sip!"

What was being advertised here?

Dale Robertson of the hit TV series, "Tales of Wells Fargo," is the star of this promotional ad for Pall Mall cigarettes. The handsome actor lounges as he enjoys his "mild...good looking, good tasting and good smoking" cigarette.

What was being advertised here?

This 1960's baby toy sits on a high rocking chair cackling nonstop at the children, who, in turn, also start laughing. Just by pressing one button, Baby Laugh A Lot begins entertaining.

What was being advertised here?

The Kool-Aid that we all know and love goes as far back as the 1950s. Though this child-friendly drink was sold in nine great flavors, you only needed one packet to make a refreshing jug of juice.

What was being advertised here?

In this commercial, the famous Barbie introduces us to her boyfriend, Ken. It's a great selling point for the duo dolls, highlighting their various outfits at the beach, school, and dates.

What was being advertised here?

This Pepsi jingle, which was released in 1957, is a light-hearted and fun song called Say Pepsi, Please! It appeals to those ‘who think young' and shows a happy couple sipping on the soft drink.

What was being advertised here?

Beech-Nut Fruit Stripe Gum is a colored candy launched as part of the Beech-Nut line in the 1950s. It was sold in a variety of flavors, namely lemon, cherry, orange, lime and mixed stripe.

What was being advertised here?

This ad is all about the ‘revolutionary new ride,' the motoric Chevrolet. This low-budget four-door sedan had new specs, such as the V8 engine, which was a huge success for the company.

What was being advertised here?

In this catchy happy-go-lucky ad, Dr. Pepper is advertised as the perfect drink for a hot day at the beach or chilling out with friends. "What's different about it?" It says, "The difference is what's different about it!"

What was being advertised here?

You've probably heard about Popeye the Sailor Man throughout your childhood, but did you know that he was a weatherman too? According to this 1959 ad, Popeye the Weatherman was a cartoon toy kit made by Colorforms.

What was being advertised here?

Chatty Cathy was a female "talking" doll invented in the 1960s for little girls everywhere. She was 5-year-olds and could talk for hours on end with several different responses.

What was being advertised here?

Kent was a brand of cigarettes launched in the 1950s. It became popular for the micronite filter that it claimed would protect consumers from the cancerous elements of tobacco.

What was being advertised here?

The first ever Cap'n Crunch commercial premiered in 1965. The captain himself can be seen inviting some children to a campfire, before chanting the catchy Cap'n Crunch melody. The ad ends with some encouragement, "Get Cap'n Crunch at your grocery store."

What was being advertised here?

"When you're due for a beer, Busch beer does it," are the words of Fred of the fictional Flinstone family, as he and his friend, Barney, promote the beverage. Busch Beer was launched in 1933 by the brewing company, Anheuser Busch.

What was being advertised here?

In 1960, V8 Juice and Cheerios joined forces to unite kids children everywhere. Any consumer was bound to be enamored by the delicious flavors and had the chance to be gifted a rocket toy with their purchase.

What was being advertised here?

In this ad, two eager siblings are anxious to devour the delicious caramel taste of Cracker Jacks. They approach a sales clerk, eventually manage to pay the price, then race off to enjoy their treat and the new toy hidden in the box.

What was being advertised here?

In this ad, two women are pictured admiring the gorgeous Bill Adams and gossiping about his dandruff problem. One of them then raves about how quickly she rid her head of dandruff with her incredible Head and Shoulders shampoo.

What was being advertised here?

In this commercial, Gaylord is a robotic dog advertised as the ideal pet toy for children. Though this slow, lethargic dog displays a few tricks for the eager youngsters, they would probably have better luck with a real pet.

What was being advertised here?

As part of their promotional campaign, Ronald McDonald stars in this 1960 ad, where he is desperately trying to return to the restaurant. He hops into his imaginary car and in no time is back at McDonald's, greeted by the excited children awaiting him.

What was being advertised here?

In 1959, Westinghouse launched its elaborate center draw refrigerator. Designed to keep food fresh for days, this draw had two compartments with separate temperatures, ideal for storage of meat and vegetables.

What was being advertised here?

In this 1959 ad, a young woman expresses her love for Ivory Soap- its pure scent and even its ability to float. She even laments on its reduced price in comparison to other soap.

What was being advertised here?

Ruth Handler of the American company, Mattel Inc, is credited with the invention of Barbie. In this first Barbie commercial, the glamorous doll is pictured with her array of outfits, including a lovely wedding dress and evening wear.

What was being advertised here?

Studebaker was an automobile company in the '60s. The company's "dial in deal" ad urged potential customers to call in quickly to purchase the durable vehicles for which it was known.

What was being advertised here?

This Hawaiian Punch ad promotes the non-carbonated soft drink with a comical twist. Punchy, the mascot, offers strangers some punch and, actually punches them in the face when they accept, instead of giving them a drink.

What was being advertised here?

Willie the Hillbilly was a long-time mascot of the soft drink, Mountain Dew. He and his friends discover the wonders of the beverage when Clem uses it to win Sal's affection, and Luke gains confidence with it for a turkey shoot.

What was being advertised here?

This comical ad shows Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC, being kidnapped by a group of women and given an impromptu lie detector test. The persistent women are eager to learn the KFC recipe, but the Colonel merely mocks them and laughs.

What was being advertised here?

The Oscar Mayer company released its catchy jingle in 1965, to promote the sale of their hotdogs. A group of children chants the lyrics, which were written by Richard D. Trentlage.

What was being advertised here?

An overly zealous clown advertises the super sweet delicious flavor of the Sugar Rice Krinkles cereal. "It's sooo good, I Krinkle every time I eat it," he says, while enjoying a mouthful.

What was being advertised here?

This commercial shows a young boy anxiously awaiting his Jell-O dessert from his mother. When his treat finally arrives, he becomes increasingly frustrated when he is unable to discern the flavor of the desert due to its dark color. Racist at best, this way of thinking may have been pretty common back then.

What was being advertised here?

What better way to sell beer than to use a senile old man? In this commercial, a seemingly confused Mr. Magoo saunters from room to room, chattering nonstop about the cold refreshing stag beer that he loves.

What was being advertised here?

The Frito Bandito used the television screen to claim that he is a lover of Frito Corn Chips but certainly not the thief, despite what the Frito Bureau of Investigation says. However, the ad offended the Latino community and was eventually discontinued.

What was being advertised here?

This 1965 ad is definitely a wordplay of the common catchphrase "I don't give a hoot." This cartoon uses Woodsy Owl to spread awareness of the environment and to speak about the dangers of pollution and littering.

What was being advertised here?

After a squabble with her husband over a bad batch of coffee, a housewife chats with her friend who recommends Folgers Coffee. Another wife encounters a similar problem until she uses the instant problem solver- Folgers Coffee.

What was being advertised here?

Car companies cater to just about everyone, including families. This Ford commercial advertised its range of family-friendly cars, suitable for anyone to lounge in the "luxurious comfort" of its interiors.

What was being advertised here?

Mountain Dew released another ad in 1960; "It'll tickle your innards" seemed to be the tagline of the company and probably meant that the tasty flavor will be felt all over.

What was being advertised here?

"That's a spicy meatball' says actor Howard Zieff in the 1969 ad by the makers of Alka-Seltzer. After ingesting some spicy food, Zieff experiences heartburn and the helpful announcer suggests some Alka-Seltzer to ease his discomfort.

What was being advertised here?

Another ad for staying fit and trim is the Diet Delight canned fruit ad. The peaches, pears, apricots and other fruits in this delicious cocktail have the same flavor as regular fruit but with half the calories.

What was being advertised here?

While sitting next to a little boy on a train, an eager man steals Cracker Jacks from him as he sleeps. The youngster eventually awakes, glaring at the man and his stuffed face.

What was being advertised here?

Rice Krispies is loved by people of all ages- even teenagers. According to the commercial, the love for this cereal transcends through the teenage years. It has a steady presence in their lives too, and it's full of goodness and lots of fun.

What was being advertised here?

This amusing commercial shows the downsides of the new and improved Benson & Hedges 100. The elongated cigarette is lengthier than the king-sized one, which definitely proved to be an annoyance to some.

What was being advertised here?

In promotion of the Coca-Cola drink, this campaign ad premiered in 1963 and ran for the next six years. It featured people of different ethnic backgrounds engaging in different activities while enjoying Coca-Cola.

What was being advertised here?

Lucky Strike was a popular cigarette brand in the United States in the mid-'50s. According to the 1953 jingle, "It's the taste that makes the difference," and it is "cleaner, faster and smoother," presumably than other cigarettes.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes