Popular Culture

14 of the Most Racist Vintage Ads



Stupidity and racism go hand in hand, but when you create a racist advertisement, you’re not only broadcasting your ignorance to the world, but also cutting out a key demographic for your product.  If Hitler sold cupcakes, he’d still probably want Jewish people to eat them.  Behold these 15 vintage advertisements that would embarrass even the marketing department of the KKK. 

Bull Durham Smoking Tobacco



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And all this time I thought Bull Durham was a bad baseball movie starring Kevin Costner.  Turns out, tobacco companies weren’t just poisoning your lungs, they were also poisoning race relations.  Note these incredibly racist depictions of African AmericansThe Bull Durham Tobacco Factory still stands in Durham, NC, and is considered a national landmark despite the ad. 

Black Maid for Tracy Stainless Steel Sinks


Black women didn’t fare much better in ads.  They were always portrayed as the maid from the Tom and Jerry Cartoons.  Well, this is what you’d call “racial progress” circa 1942. 

Chinese Jello Ad


Before Bill Cosby started shilling their pudding pops, the Jello people would come up with commercials like this. Thanks a lot Jello, the Chinese have long memories.  They’ve bought up all our debt and soon will be making commercials starring stereotypical Americans who can only order lo mein by asking for it by the number on the menu. 

More Racist Jello



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Jeez, Jello.  This ad makes the previous commercial look good by comparison.  Who was your marketing director back then?  David Duke?  Confederate soldiers would be embarrassed by this ad.  It should be locked in a vault the same place Disney hides the missing scenes from Song of the South

Black Toothpaste


Leave it to Japan to make racism even weirder in this herbal toothpaste commercial.  Is there really a reason for anyone to be afraid of a helpful African American?  And is the image of him being able to climb racist or just weird?  Oh, Japan.  Just limit your weirdness to gameshows

KFC’s Australia Crowd Pleaser


Check out the crowd he’s pleasing with fried chicken in this Australian KFC commercial.  Someone had one too many Fosters when they greenlighted the line, “Too easy.”  Sure, KFC, as easy as stereotyping.  Why not just pass out watermelon and Malt liquor next time? 

Jesse Helms Campaign Ad


A racist Jesse Helms Campaign commercial?!  What are the odds?  Helms made an issue out of minority bashing and pissing off just about everyone that wasn’t white, Southern and rich.  He must’ve been the target demographic for most of these ads.   

Korean Fried Chicken


As it turns out, South Koreans aren’t just known for their spicy barbecue and immigrant pedicurists, they can demonize African Americans just like the rest of the world.  This commercial is so racist, it makes flying the Confederate Flag look good by comparison.  Lisa Lampanelli would condemn this ad. â€¨ 

Banned VW Ad


Don’t worry Arabs, there’s new commercials to pick on you.  This one reaches bad taste on a whole new level.  What’s the matter VW?  Was working for the Nazis not enough for you? 

South Oak Dodge


Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Krusty’s comedy act is so old, he’s still doing a racist imitation of a Japanese person?  Apparently neither did the people who made this car dealer commercial for South Oak Dodge.  Superman beating up a Sumo Wrestler?  Is this even a fair fight even without stereotypes? 

Racist Laxative Ad



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Isn’t it bad enough that this ad encourages poop?  Does it also have to encourage the oppression of the black man?  And who wrote this script?  It’s more insulting to African Americans than Al Sharpton’s hair

Club Peachtree



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Remember the Civil Rights Movement?  Well, racism didn’t go down without a fight in places like Club Peachtree in Atlanta.  As late as 1967, they were advertising minstrel shows while hippies were elsewhere smoking pot

Japanese Cellphone Ad


Oh, Japan, what did the United States ever do to you?  Oh, right.  Maybe that’s why they did this cellphone commercial with what’s obviously an Obama candidate, but instead of hiring a black guy, they put a monkey in his place.  Jeez, Japan, what next?  You going to go buy a pick up truck, take up chaw and start marrying your relatives too? 

Racist Chlorinol



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This is probably the most racist ad that’s ever appeared in print.  Not only do you manage to work the word “nigger” into this ad, you also imply you can “wash the black” off of black babies.  Who was the target audience?  Bigots that attend lynchings?  You have to attend a racial sensitivity seminar just for looking at this thing.


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