52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Week 21: Commercials/Advertisements, social attitudes and accents.


The topic for Week 21 in Amy Coffin’s and Geneablogger’s 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History series iwas: Commercials. Do you remember any commercial jingles from your childhood? Share them here. I didn’t do this topic when it was first posted as it didn’t really speak to me, but while doing the Week 34 challenge on Smells, it triggered off thoughts of the brewery and its advertising which sent me on a chase for old advertisements. As it’s the only topic I haven’t blogged about I thought I may as well complete the set.

TAA Fokker 727

The two most noticeable features of Australian advertising with the arrival of TV were the prevalence of British accents and role-specificity for women. YouTube has some great clips on ads, some I remembered and some I didn’t (but couldn’t resist including). Do click on some of them as if it’s your era, the memories will come flooding back. Oh, yes, the other thing was how many of the products advertised were bad for your health.

Bulimba Gold top beer: the Bulimba beer association was triggered by Week 34’s topic, Smells. It differs from others of its era by using an Australian accent, complete with dropped g’s off the end of participles, and the country huntin’ and ridin’ thing.

Australia had two major airlines in my youth: TAA (aka Try Another Airline) and Ansett (aka Don’t chance-it with Ansett). Here are two of their ads:

TAA fly the friendly way showing a Boeing 727: my first real flight was to PNG on a 727.

Ansett: interestingly this is quite classy/sophisticated aimed at flight fans.

Cigarettes featured prominently in those days when most people smoked and no one cared about passive smoking or the risks of cancer and lung disease.

Viscount cigarettes –why use Canberra in this ad? The association with power & influence?

Marlboro cigarette ad was a distinctive one but it looks like it done with a voice-over on American vision

Headache powder advertisements were a mainstay of the 1950s and 1960s. They were a seen as a solution to all sorts of aches and pains. They became part of common parlance eg “a Bex and a nice lie down”

Vincents powders

Bex The YouTube clip says it’s 1980s but the accent is still very British so I think that’s wrong. The ads didn’t change much.

Housecleaning and “women’s work” featured prominently inevitably showing a beautifully turned out women complete with apron/pinafore. No suggestion that men might ever do the washing or cleaning!

RInso the family’s specific role behaviours are interesting as it the little girl’s cutesy bowing etc.

Fab Despite the knight on white charger there was no evidence of men in the laundry.

Ajax: A white so white you’d be proud to hang it in the main street. Interestingly the accent was more Australian than British-unusual for the time.

Mr Sheen: Today’s the day to make the household clean: wax and polish as you dust with Mr Sheen.

Hoovermatic washing machine: My mother had one of these, as did I in Papua New Guinea. The ad is great for showing how tedious the process of washing was even in those post-copper days. It cost 133 guineas or about 140 pounds ($280)

Solvol: busy hands, clap clap clap

Mortein and the Louie the fly –  one of those ads that stays with you.

Delicious Arnott's Iced VoVo biscuits.

Food and Other

Arnott’s Iced Vo Vo biscuits are part of our Aussie heritage and for me are also associated with the smell of biscuits baking at the Arnott’s factory on Coronation Drive on the way to/from uni.

Brylcream -a little dab’ll do ya. And win the girl. Well a dab was probably a dab too much in my view!

Cadbury’s Dairy Whip –From the late 1960s with typical fashions, but why oh why, would an advertiser think a whistle would look cool on a teenager’s head???

Weetbix in wintertime with hot milk, ugh…all mushy and slushy…and that guy singing!

Kellogg’s cornflakes packets had cutouts on the back: this one is for daring disguises but I remember a lion’s head one.

Canon camera –a man’s camera a woman can use –perhaps why I’ve never bought a Canon camera?

Streets Heart icecreams This Hav-a-heart ad has great Ekka-type images and shows a boy with massed freckles and no doubt red hair – commonly seen in those days. Where HAVE all the redheads with Celtic colouring gone?

Bushells tea: Slogan: Flavour is more important than price. What struck me was they all drank black tea which I can’t remember anyone doing when I was a child..…and tea ladies: they’re no longer a feature of office life.

Coca Cola even though I didn’t drink it for decades.

Harris coffee & tea: no recollection of this one, but interesting for the sailing ship voyages

Current classics:

Bundaberg Rum: Drop Bears as match makers plus a range of other hilarious ones.

Qantas’ Spirit of Australia  ads: music and words by Peter Allen.

5 thoughts on “52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History: Week 21: Commercials/Advertisements, social attitudes and accents.

  1. The ads that I remember best from the old days are the ones for Mortein (‘..Louie the Fly..’) and Vegemite (‘..happy little vegemites..’) Nowadays I think the most amusing (and clever) ads are the ones for RACQ insurance.

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    • How could I have omitted Vegemite -it was one of the ones in my mind at the beginning, oops. I don’t know the RACQ ads -will have to keep an eye out next time I’m in Qld.

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  2. Thanks for sharing these great links. I’m amazed how many products were available in both the U.S.A. and Australia in the 50s and 60s–Kellogg’s, Fab, Marlboro, Coca Cola, etc. I hadn’t realized how long the world was a global marketplace for consumer goods.

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  3. Love ” Louie the Fly” and so many of the others as well… “Louie” of course was the brainchild of the author, Bryce Courtenay…one of the nicest people you could meet.

    You’ve got me thinking now… I’m hopeless for remembering ads even though they were very much a part of my life in my radio days.. I do like the Qantas ads, the old Bushells ads and some of the early Coca Cola ads, even though I’m not a fan of the drink. The Brylcreem ad was easy to remember. I loved the masks on the Kellogg’s Cornflakes, the toys in Rice Bubbles and the coupons we collected from Lanchoo tea… they filled Mum’s linen shelf. So many great memories, thank you.

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    • Well that’s something I didn’t know about Bryce Courtenay or Louie! It explains why it’s such a catchy and clever ad…especially the ending: apple of his old mother’s eye etc. We didn’t have Lanchoo tea (in fact tea very much at all) so I don’t remember those coupons. I couldn’t believe I’d forgottten the Kellog’s cornflakes masks until I went sleuthing.

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