Before Mad Men: Familiar and Forgotten Ads from 1950s to 1980s Now Online

Before com­ing up with the slo­gan “Utz Are Bet­ter Than Nuts!” for the real-world Utz pota­to chip com­pa­ny on Mad Men, Don Drap­er and his crew had to study the com­pe­ti­tion, like this ad for Beech Nut or this one with Andy Grif­fith for Gen­er­al Foods.

Today we’re sat­u­rat­ed with ads, more than the ad men that inspired Draper’s char­ac­ter could have ever imag­ined. They’re everywhere—on the dark inte­ri­ors of tun­nels as we speed along in light rail trains, in the games we let our kids play on smart phones—and they reveal a lot to us about our­selves.

Duke University’s John W. Hart­man Cen­ter for Sales, Adver­tis­ing & Mar­ket­ing His­to­ry put togeth­er Adviews, a col­lec­tion that brings togeth­er thou­sands of his­toric com­mer­cials from the 1950s to 1980s. Col­lect­ed or cre­at­ed by the D’Arcy Masius Ben­ton & Bowles adver­tis­ing agency, the dig­i­tal col­lec­tion is avail­able online and on iTune­sU as a free archive. It’s also found at the Inter­net Archive, where ads can be down­loaded as MP4 videos.

Watch Ster­ling Cooper’s (fic­tion­al) ad for Utz pota­to chips and then com­pare it to this goofy com­mer­cial for Dad­dy Crisp chips above.

Vis­it the amaz­ing world of con­ve­nience foods that made house­wives cheer and mir­a­cle fibers that made clean-up a snap.

We may have grown more savvy and sus­pi­cious of prod­ucts that promise bet­ter health and effi­cien­cy, but if any­thing we’re more fas­ci­nat­ed by adver­tis­ing than ever. Since launch­ing the archive in 2009, the com­mer­cials have logged 2.5 mil­lion down­loads.

And for y’all who miss Andy Grif­fith, there’s a wealth of great stuff.

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