Amazing Actual 'Mad Men'-Era Television Commercials

The Prelinger Archive presents a fascinating collection of classic ads from the fifties and sixties for Coca Cola, Goodyear, Marlboro, Volkswagen and more.  Some fit a traditional, slogan-driven mold, while others experiment with a little shock value -- a skydiving waiter delivers a can of Colt 45, an eating contest promotes Alka-Seltzer, and a Noah-like character fills a 1967 American Motors station wagon full of tigers, elephants and other wild animals. Their depiction of women evolves too, from totally helpless in a Goodyear spot ("this flat tire needs a man!") to professional and independent in a Coca Cola ad about a jet-set TWA stewardess. The commercials below are an excerpt from the full reel, which you can find here. What would Don Draper think of this ad copy?

For more films from the Prelinger Archive, visit http://www.archive.org/details/prelinger.

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

Our Incredible, Microscopic World

Highlights from Nikon's Small World in Motion competition, featuring zebrafish embryos, killer T cells attacking cancer, and much more

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."

Video

What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

More in Video

Just In