A Short History of Ancient Advertising

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I’ve been keeping amused by sorting through the old issues of Paradise Magazine that Maureen Hill gave to me. There are many articles of interest to old-timers, but the advertisements are so funky and dated that I have to show you a few of them. I’ll get around to the articles later.

These ads came from Issue 2: October 1976, Issue 5: May 1977, and Issue 6: July 1977.

In hindsight, I suppose that old cigarette ads are not so funny. I can remember when “Nine out of ten Doctors Recommend . . .” They can ‘t get away that that now. Here’s an old Peter Stuyvesant ad from Paradise:

Stuyvesant cigarette ad from an early Paradise magazine
It would have been more honest to say, “We hired this clown to dress up in a doctor suit and lie to you.”, but I don’t think they would have sold as many coffin nails. I was curious about who the dude was or if it was a fake name. Turns out he was real:

Peter Stuyvesant (circa 1600 – August 1672) served as the last Dutch Director-General of the colony of New Netherland from 1647 until it was ceded provisionally to the English in 1664. He was a major figure in the early history of New York City. Stuyvesant’s accomplishment as director-general included a great expansion for the settlement of New Amsterdam (later renamed New York) beyond the southern tip of Manhattan. Among the projects built by Stuyvesant’s administration were the protective wall on Wall Street, the canal which became Broad Street, and Broadway.

Here’s one that’s a laugh. Who in the world thought this up:

Air Niugini - A Wise Old Owl?
Air Niugini – A Wise Old Owl? Maybe way back then.

The Avis car hire gang was around then and have managed to hang in there:

Avis - The Car Hire Gang
Although I don’t think anybody dresses like that anymore. (Hey, wait a minute. I DO know some guys who still dress that way!)

Ela Motors is still pumping out the iron, though I seriously doubt if the car shown in the ad is more than a rusting hulk:

Avis - The Car Hire Gang
South Pacific Brewery is still faithfully insuring that nobody goes to school (ably assisted by British American Tobacco).* However, with the quality of the flint bottle longnecks (SP Export Lager) that we’ve been seeing lately I think a lot of people would switch if there was anything in the same price range. Every other bottle spews about a third of its contents out as soon as you open it:
Old South Pacific Brewery ad from Paradise Magazine
I saved the best for last. Burns Philp used to be a very big deal here. I can remember a huge warehouse store just around the corner from my office. It burned down. Burns Philp is now a shell company owned by New Zealand businessman Graeme Hart:
Old Burns Philp ad from Paradise Magazine
I wonder if its demise had anything to do with its ludicrous advertisements.

Fair is fair – it is cute in a demented sort of way.

* Okay, okay, I know it’s not fair to blame the brewers and ciggie makers for the irresponsibility and neglect of the slugs who choose to consume the products in such quantities that they can’t afford to send their kids to school. It’s like blaming the arms industry for all the people who die in wars. But, hey, we gotta blame somebody!

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13 Responses to “A Short History of Ancient Advertising”

  1. Weast Says:

    whats the oldest issue of paradise magazine you have in your collection?

    With your recent postings on the magazine, you have got me going through my mums stack, so far from quick flick through I found the oldest in her stack to be from 1975.

  2. MadDog Says:

    Hey, I’m so glad to hear from someone who is also interested in Paradise.

    The oldest issue that I have is #2 (Oct 76). I also have #5 (May 77), #6 (July 77), and #7 (Sep 77).

    I’m trying to figure out how I can get a complete collection of early issues – say up to maybe 1990.

    Thanks for dropping a comment on my site.


  3. Tavurvur Says:


    Have been catching up on your posts. Been out of action lately!

    My parents have a stack of old Paradise magazines too. I love going through them.

    Have to say the Burns Philip advertisement is funny — and a shocker too!

    And I never knew Graeme Hart owned Burns Philip!


  4. Weast Says:

    hey Jan
    after reading this last night I stayed up till 2am going through the old Paradise magazine stack… The first publication was July 1976 and not 75 as I said earlier, my bad. My mother has the first 7 publications. she got a few 80s and plent of 90s.She got close to 60 magazines.

    I regreat cuting out the pictures for different school projects though.

  5. MadDog Says:

    I know what you mean. I’ve spent quite a few hours pouring over them. I tell myself it’s ‘research’. I have also found a few copies that copies that have images cut out – what a shame. At least you got some school projects out of them.

  6. RaiulBaztepo Says:

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  7. MadDog Says:

    Thank you for the compliment, Raiul.

    It seems to me that you are doing quite well with your English. Feel free to comment any time. It is good practice.

    Please tell your friends about my journal. I have few readers in Russia. I would like to have more.

    See you later,
    Jan Messersmith (MadDog)

  8. PiterKokoniz Says:

    Hi !!! ^_^
    My name is Piter Kokoniz. Just want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: will you continue to post in this blog in future?
    Sorry for my bad english:)

  9. MadDog Says:

    Hi Piter,

    First, I don’t see anything wrong with your English. You already write better than most English speakers. Keep studying and trying. Nobody ever gets better language skill by wishing. You have to SPEAK IT! WRITE IT!

    And, YES, I do plan to continue to keep my daily journal going as long as I breathe. At age 65 I am embarking on a new career. I write in my daily journal because I enjoy it, it is good practice, it keeps me disciplined as a writer (writing every day whether you feel like it or not is hard work), and it gets my name out where people can see it. I also write regularly for three magazines.

    I’m glad that you enjoy my journal. Please pass the URL around to your friends.

  10. Up In Smoke - Burns Philp Moresby Lights Up | Madang - Ples Bilong Mi Says:

    […] buddy and Madang- Ples Bilong Mi reader Rich Jones shot me an email this morning with photos of the Burns Philp fire in Port […]

  11. More Ancient Advertising from Paradise | Madang - Ples Bilong Mi Says:

    […] from Paradise I think that it’s about time that we delve further into the subject of Ancient Advertising. These ads came from the venerable pages of old Paradise magazines given to me by my partner in […]

  12. Brian Davies Says:

    For those who remember I opened Ela Motors in Madang in 1972
    next to BP travel then we took over PNG motors behind the Com Bank & then moved to where it is today when we took it over from Jack Thick of Goroka. My old house was the one in Regina Ave that fell down in the big earth quake of 1970/1. I wasn’t there so I don’t recall the exact year. I live in Noosa & see Isobel Pert every so often,& have been to a few of the back to PNG at Bribie Island wwhere it is due in a few weeks time. I’m still involved with Theatre as I was in Madang & my daughter Syna has just finished a 3 week season of Fiddler on the Roof as the sound & lighting manager which she also does professionally.
    Say hi to Maureen & Peter from me also Ron McKenna if he is still around. Cheers. Brian..

  13. MadDog Says:

    Thanks for the interesting comment, Brian. There is a lot packed into it. I’ll say hi to Peter and Maureen and yes, Makka is still around, running his Coastal Automotive.