3 Bizarre and Hilarious Vintage Advertisements

We present to you three tobacco advertisements that are either nonsensical or just plain odd.

What may have looked normal to society at the time these cigarette and cigar ads were released have gotten a little lost in translation as time went on.

We’ve written about cigarette cards before, but these are a whole other deal.

It’s remarkable — and somewhat shocking — how many of these ads use babies and children to advertise tobacco products. Of course, all the risks of tobacco were not well known back then, but still: a baby shown next to a pack of cigarettes? Really?

Which brings us to the first ad:


“Just found his mail pouch” (via Boston Public Library)

This ad is more politically incorrect than anything, but then again, at that time “politically correct” was not a known phrase, so who are we to judge?

Along with finding Mail Pouch brand cigarettes, this bubbly baby boy found his own personal lung cancer twenty years down the road.

This one is my personal favorite:


The further back you go in the picture, the more children you see crying. Joe Michl’s FIfty Little Orphans (via Boston Public Library)

What possessed the artist to draw fifty young orphans to advertise a cigar I do not know, but the child in the front offering a cigar puts the linchpin in what was just a bizarre piece to begin with.

These children might haunt your nightmares, but at least you’ll get some cigars along with that tingling on the back of your neck that comes from 50 pairs of eyes watching you.

Now for a more humorous card:


It’s like America’s Funniest Home Videos, pre-TV era. (Via Boston Public Library)

We might not know what possessed the well dressed man to stand on a diving board, and experts also don’t suggest smoking a cigar while floating in a pool. But “The New Capadura” has indeed made for a hilarious situation.

There are more normal (and prettier) advertising cards out there, but none are quite so unique as the ones tobacco products inspire.

Which of these ads is your favorite?

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