The Consumerist has a wonderful article “Top 10 Ironic Ads from History“. These are old advertisements that innocently promoted something that eventually went horribly wrong:
- A Union Carbide ad about how “Science helps build a new India” — before one of their plants killed 25 thousand people there.
- An ad for asbestos “When life depends on it, you use asbestos”.
- An ad that inadvertently tells the truth: “This child’s life may depend on the safety of Distaval”. Distaval is a trade name for thalidomide, a drug that was responsible for tens of thousands of serious birth defects.
- An ad for Heroin — Bayer once owned the trademark on the name heroin!
- A public service ad filmed by James Dean to encourage safe driving, which was never used after Dean was killed in his speeding sports car.
- And of course the ad proclaiming that “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette”
I purposely didn’t include images of the ads, so you would have to go read the original.