My God, That’s Good Lamb!

Kids, the Storytime is a space that welcomes all faiths! Reasonable minds can agree that great ads are here for everyone to enjoy, no matter what day, if any, you set aside to ponder the mysteries of life.

It’s been said that if folks could just break bread together there would be a lot less misunderstand in the world, but that leads to another problem…what to serve? With many creeds’ dietary restrictions this is no easy feat.

Good News! The Aussies have figured it out; lamb is the answer! No beef? No pork? No problem! (You vegetarians can fill up on sides)

The PR ad shows divine figures at a barbecue, mingling with mortals and joking around. Finally they realize that lamb is the one meat they can all agree on. The commercial is fun but at the same time respectful, though there is a slight poke at Scientology. I especially like the appearance by a Jedi.

Still, not everyone’s a fan. The Australian Hindu community has taken issue with the image of Ganesha seemingly drinking wine and eating meat, which are no-nos.

The commercial runs a little long, clocking in at over two minutes, but the in-joke gags give it remarkable rewatchability.

I’m also impressed by the Australian commercials in general. Aunt Mary’s first Friday Ad Spotlight was for the achingly beautiful spot for Boag’s Draft Beer.

Evidently, whatever the Aussies are selling, Aunt Mary is buying. I must be a sucker for that dreamy accent.

Crock dundee
Actual image of Aunt Mary writing this post

Brunches and Lunches, A Cookbook for the Ages!

Vintage cookbooks can look bonkers to our modern eyes, especially when the recipes were created by advertisers attempting to brand their product in “new” and “interesting” ways.  Even the most simple and earnest recipe collection can look off to us due to contemporary styling and nascent color photography.  Aunt Mary collects vintage cookbooks and I can say many of them have me tossing my hands into the air and yelling “Oh Come ON!”

But not this one! My 1963 version of Better Homes and Gardens “Brunches and Lunches”is nothing short of delightful!  Not only does this cookbook have all the retro recipes we love to make fun of (Tomato aspic!) but some I actually think wouldn’t be that bad! Add in some charming retro table settings and we get a big ol’ serving of Aunt Mary thumbs up!

Sure, it’s really gold and orange, but that coffee pot is incredible!


Nobody cares if brunch is looking back at you when it’s this adorable (and glamorous!)


chicken pot
Even something called “Eggs Goldenrod” would taste amazing if served out of a pale blue chicken bowl!
Image (4)
How hungry were kids in 1963? Evidently you can now get a lunch box version of the Tardis, that’s the only explanation on how all of this food came from that box.
butter balls
Evidently that’s an omelette on the blue dish. I was just excited by the spiky butter balls .
confetti mold
If it’s Wednesday we need a weird jello mold. I think this would have benefited from some color photography, it’s just so…gray. Frankly, not the worst mold we’ve seen.

Music Makes the Ad

Advertising is supposed to be an emotional experience, you aren’t selling just a product, you are selling a better life through your product. The Adman’s job is to convince you that the person you want to be is on the other end of this exchange. And nothing drives home a shiny new image faster than the music chosen to lend atmosphere to a commercial.

As The Ad Storytime heads into our fall lineup, I’m planning on using our Friday’s together to explore commercials that have used music to their best advantage as well as our usual highlights of specific ads that have caught my fancy.

For example, this beautiful ad for Volkswagen’s Cabriolet from 1999 featuring Nick Drake’s haunting “Pink Moon.”

Called “Milky Way” this is considered one of the best commercials of all time, and not one word is ever said by any actor. The song perfectly frames a dreamy, sepia-toned evening among friends who realize they have found a fragile peace together.  The car is barely shown except through brief glimpses of moonlight but it perfectly states its message: it’s not the destination that matters, it’s the voyage.

Thanks to the popularity of this commercial, “Pink Moon” shot to number five on Amazon’s top sellers list shortly after the ad began airing, nearly 30 years after the song was first released! Furthermore, it helped settle a long held debate among ad nerds: does popular music have a place in advertising? If chosen wisely and done with care the answer is a shouting “Heck yeah!!”

Volkswagen started giving Cabriolet buyers CD** compilations of songs they have used in their commercials, which is now the only thing I want for Christmas.

What commercials do you think have rocked great music? Let me know in the comments  below or on Aunt Mary’s Facebook page!

For previous Ad Stories that talk about music check out:

I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke

Khakis Swing

**Millennials, please tell me I don’t have to explain what a CD is!


Boom Goes the Dynamite Ads

Happy Independence Day, fellow Americans!

After dope advertising, American’s love nothing more than eating food and blowing stuff up, so today’s our time to shine!

Check Aunt Mary’s story about Nathan’s Hot Dogs to see what’s on the menu, and let’s move on to the after-dinner entertainment: amature explosives!

Such as disfiguring circus-folk.

circus firecrackers
“Hello, Yes, this is Circus Fireworks…I’d like to order a cautionary tale.”

Or witnessing breathtakingly poor choices mixed with demure boasting.

There is no way anything could go wrong with this idea…
hartford circus fire
Oh, Now I see… ***


Or the most elegant way to freak the hell out of your neighbor’s dog!


Lastly, don’t forget that fireworks will look even more enchanting through the fog of self medication!

Self Serve You know those shops where you can fill baggies with candy? That’s what I’m picturing here. Only bins of drugs and explosives. It’s customary for Vicodin to only be paired with Roman Candles. Anything else is gauche.

Take the advice from the little girl and have a safe and sane 4th!


***In no way do I want to diminish the horror of the Hartford Circus fire. For more information listen to this podcast.

Memorial Day Picnic – Ad Style

Happy Memorial Day weekend in the US! As the unofficial start of summer there is one thing everyone wants to do: Grill Out! Let’s see what’s on our vintage ad picnic menu, shall we?

First up: hot dogs! So convenient in a can! I can see thousands of cold-war era backyard bomb shelters stuffed to the rafters with cans and cans of wieners. Why, the nuclear winter will seem like a picnic with all those hot dogs!

canned weiners
If you are trying really hard to get Middle Schoolers to laugh, you can’t go wrong with the phrasing “Can o’ Wieners” paired with “Sack o’ Sauce”
By “a little bit you you!” I’m pretty sure they mean “internal organs.” 

Or maybe we can tempt you with a hamburger, fresh from the tin?

burger can 2
“Say, I know! burgers in a can, ya see?” 

Let’s not forget the condiments! What’s a picnic without ketchup?

Folks must have had a lot of time to read ad copy back in the day. I’ve asked Uncle Mary to call me his angel whenever I buy new ketchup, but he had declined. 

Or folks losing their minds over mustard?

This is everyone’s favorite style of vintage ad! It hits me right in the ad loving spot.

…and to wash it all down?


Seagrams cookout
I have never wanted anything more than to be at this party. 
Brewers Memorial Day
If I can’t be at the Seagram’s party, can I be here instead?

Many wishes for a happy and peaceful Memorial Day!

Lysol will Save Your Failing Marriage, You Filthy, Filthy Woman

Gather ’round, Mature Adults, for another moment in Aunt Mary’s Advertising Storytime! Fluff the cushions on the fainting couch and prepare to clutch your pearls, because we are about to get personal.

From roughly the turn of the century to the 1960’s the makers of Lysol touted their product to not only clean your house, but to also save your marriage.

Ladies, are you having issues with your husband? Is he staying out too late? Withholding affection? Perhaps that last pregnancy made him a bit jumpy? Lysol is here to help! Not only does it clean your sinks, but is the key to marital harmony if used as a feminine douche. (I’ll let you take a moment to breath through that)

lysol door

Yes. The folks behind Lysol told women that the problems in their relationships are likely due to pregnancy and/or the crotch rot. The language used in the ads was a brilliant combination of negging and subtext. Evidently everybody knew the term “feminine hygiene” meant birth control, but thanks to strict moral laws prohibiting even the discussion of contraception, they couldn’t just come out and say it, but boy howdy did they get close!

lysol calendar

“We can’t tell you it’s birth control, because birth control is illegal, but…yeah…it’s birth control.”

Forget that most of these men were suffering from shell shock due to two world wars and a crippling economic depression. You are obviously the problem and if you really cared you would hose acid where the sun don’t shine.

The makers put out years of print ads encouraging women to use it as a spermicide, and (in my opinion) a combat to STIs. This practice was likely worse than nothing. Used as a contraceptive it was useless and obviously also harmed women’s bodies.

lysol lady

It all ended when the pill came out.

Car Commercials Throwing Shade

In 2014 Cadillac released its “Poolside” Ad, featuring actor Neal McDonough’s unapologetic and fast talking tribute to the good life.

Taking great pains to make fun of such goofy things as Europe, bad luck and actually taking your vacation time, Cadillac boldly insists the time is now for the well-off to come out and proudly proclaim what they haven’t really been hiding: “Yo! I’ve got money!”

The first line of that ad asks “Why do we work so hard? For Stuff?” and and finally answers its own question with “Yeah, stuff is good!”

The commercial is slick, smirking, and the patter is so fast-paced and clever it actually has a Gilmore Girls vibe to it. It boldly smacks its chest and dares you to to decline the American dream.

In answer Ford had one response…don’t be a dick.

Opposed to Cadillac’s use of an actor, the commercial for Ford’s CMAX hybrid features “Real Woman” Pashon Murray, founder of Detroit nonprofit Detroit Dirt, an organization that creates urban gardens in order to help keep food local.

While brilliantly matching the Cadillac ad scene for scene, arched eyebrow for side glance, what really is impressive is the stand alone nature of the spot. You need not have seen the Cadillac ad for Ford’s to make sense, but it sure does make an even stronger impression if you have.

While McDonough’s delivery is of mocking and hubris, Pashon’s is more impassioned and hopeful. Furthermore, the only other humans in the Cadillac ad are the presumed family of the speaker who are lounging around a well appointed and so-clean-it’s-sanitized house. The folks in Ford’s spot are at at work in kitchens and gardens literally getting their hands dirty.

Obviously the target markets for these cars are wildly different, which is probably why Cadillac didn’t shout “unfair!” too much. I have to give much credit to Ford’s ad agency (Rogue) for a fast and thoughtful response to a fellow car maker and neighboring company.

Yes, treat yourself and enjoy life, but remember your community…n’est pas?


For more info on this ad battle, see this article from Ad Age