Vintage Health Ads That Actually Give Horrible Advice

These vintage health ads are a lot. Sure, during every one of your favorite television shows you’re likely to see at least one pharmaceutical commercial with a motor mouthed announcer running through a mile of copy about the side effects of whatever medicine he or she is shilling, but they don't hold a candle to the old health ads on this list. Aside from the nightmarish side effects, today's ads themselves are snooze inducing and banal; couples riding horse back through fields of rye, men and women covered in genital warts razor scootering through San Francisco – it’s all pretty bad. But after putting together this list of vintage medical ads we’ve realized that medical marketing has always been silly and terrible. Sadly we may be living in a golden era of medical commercials. Dig into this list of vintage health posters and see how bad it can get.

Gone are the days of doctors suggesting cigarettes and sugar for weight loss or ten gallons of DDT for every apple you eat (does DDT come in gallons?). Thanks to FDA protocol, medical advertising is now held to a strict set of rules that keeps advertisers from telling parents to pour 7-Up into their children’s milk, and as fun as all that sounds, it’s probably for the better.

Enjoy this list of vintage health ads and vote up the old ad campaigns you think were probably the most damaging to the world at large.


  • 1. Wonderful Radium Cream

    Wonderful Radium Cream
    Photo: Pinterest
  • 2. Carbon Monoxide Just Got Fun!

    Carbon Monoxide Just Got Fun!
    Photo: Pinterest
  • 3. Well, That's One Way To Lose Weight

    Well, That's One Way To Lose Weight
    Photo: Pinterest
  • 4. Use Laudanum For Everything!

    Use Laudanum For Everything!
    Photo: Pinterest