Gypsy Creams

“adverts totally made of wrong” Tag


Men Only / July 1950

Always nice to see one of the adverts which inspired this Viz parody many years later.

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Virginia Cigarettes

Men Only / July 1950

I’m not sure where to start with this one. Perhaps the first point is that it’s impossible to kill all the animals featured in one safari, given that you’d have to go to at least two continents to do it.

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Lubrication on your mind?

Men Only / September 1951

There’s no answer to that, really.

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Take Up Pelmanism

Men Only / July 1950

No, I don’t know either. But the discount for ex- and serving forces members is very canny, given the time of the ad. Another thing I don’t understand is the shoe polish ad. Is it trying to sell to women by making them paranoid about their shoes, or support men judging women by their appearance, therefore getting an indirect sale? It’s all too complicated for this woman, frankly.

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Leafing Through the Classifieds…

Weekend / 30th January 1974

So many gems here, but what really leaped out at me from this collection was the topless catsuit, as I remember ads for something similar in the News of the World, which my parents read regularly when I grew up. The weekend supplement was responsible for a fair bit of my sex education; thank goodness my parents were willing to answer the questions I had after reading the articles!

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Woman's Weekly / 2nd May 1969

I presume this ad was placed by a manufacturer of real hair wigs, but, erm, the manner of it seems rather sinister…


You have a woman’s moustache, my lord…

Woman's Weekly / 20th March 1965

I know, it’s a cheap laugh, but I’m going to do it anyway…

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Housework? Fun?

Woman's Weekly / 20th March 1965

Good old Hoover: there for when the gloss of unending domestic drudgery finally wears off.

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The fun of being thin…

Woman's Realm / 18th March 1967

Oh, piss off.

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Berlei Teenform

Woman's Realm / 31st March 1967

I’m…not sure where to start with this one. Me and my boyfriend found ourselves writhing around in our seats with discomfort whilst reading the ad, and certainly the language alone is enough to put it in first place in the ‘Adverts Totally Made of Wrong’ category on Gypsy Creams. Actually, I may provide that as a category when the site’s given an overhaul later in the year.

But the language isn’t the only problem (although the ‘Berlei Teenform Littlest Darling’ is enough to distract you from anything else). This ad totally blows out of the water the oft-written about idea that the ‘Tweenage’ market is something new, with the odd name ‘beTweenager’, and the suspicious assertions that teenage girls need Berlei’s special bras. And that’s not all! Berlei have a whole range of girdles to ‘help’ your daughter’s posture. Oddly enough, in a world where girdles are no longer in fashion, we haven’t got young women bent double in the street, possibly because your posture is largely a matter for your core muscle groups, rather than a nylon strait-jacket.

As for the dire warnings that a teenager should NEVER wear an adult bra: well, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of evidence to support this. I do remember reading a recommendation in a teenage magazine that girls shouldn’t wear an underwired bra until their breasts are fully grown, but I started wearing underwires from 14ish, and mine don’t seem to be an abnormal shape. In fact, the wide variance in size and shape of breasts suggests that there isn’t really that well defined a ‘norm’ to deviate from anyway, and there certainly doesn’t seem to be any evidence that there’s any connection between bras and breast cancer either.

So Berlei seem to have cooked up some copy here that The Daily Mail would be proud of: full of unsubstantiated assertions, scaremongering and of, frankly, a rather worrying tone. I must apologise for any nausea that results from reading this advert.

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