The enchanting world of the 1960s was marked by the irresistible allure of dapper, globetrotting spies, captivating the imagination of an entire generation.
Mirroring this suave trend, the cologne industry of the decade ingeniously infused fragrances with exotic odors, while ad campaigns exuded sophistication and elegance.
On the other hand, the 1970s emerged as a transformative era characterized by earthy fashion statements such as brown, denim, corduroy, and a celebration of natural masculinity, with body hair being embraced as a symbol of rugged appeal.
It is no wonder, then, that men’s scents during this period emanated an alluring muskiness, embodying the essence of unapologetic manliness. Here we have collected the most popular vintage men’s cologne ads from the 1960s and 1970s.
As we delve into the world of vintage cologne advertisements, a captivating narrative unfolds, celebrating the evolution of men’s grooming habits and how they mirrored the societal changes of their respective eras.
The ad campaigns of the 1960s masterfully portrayed men as refined gentlemen, evoking images of cosmopolitan allure and sophistication.
In contrast, the 1970s advertisements embraced a cheeky and humorous tone, reveling in the celebration of natural masculinity and individuality.
The aromatic journey through these decades paints a vivid picture of how colognes served as an emblem of cultural expression.
An eyepatch always toughens up a man’s look, even when it’s a medallion from a bottle of drug store aftershave. Brut utilized one of the more famous men in the green of the time, Joe Namath.
Charles Bronson pitched this tough scent. In 1976, it didn’t get much manlier than Bronson — mustache, pipe, and all.
The complicated, slow game of cricket does not seem like the dirtiest of sports. Now, the Oakland Raiders, they would have made for a good, tough 1970s body spray.
As the ad proclaims, “It’s only for the man who gets a bang out of living, a charge out of leading — who plays to win, whatever the game.” The bottle looks like a cross of a barbell and a tube of nuclear material.
Jovan Sex Appeal
Hands down the heaviest metal of men’s cologne ads.
The cartoon commercials doubled down on the fantasy theme and featured the work of legendary animator Richard Williams (Pink Panther, Who Framed Roger Rabbit). It should have come with some twelve-sided dice.
From the chest hair to the gold chain, no ad screams the 1970s more than this promotion from Fabergé.
There was even a tie-in disco single, “Mucho Macho” released by Palladium Records. The artist? M.A.N., of course.
Not to be confused with Puff Daddy’s Sean John.
English Leather went hard on the sex appeal with this “scent of the centuries,” despite being “skeptical of [ginseng’s] legendary aphrodisiac power.”
This “Root of All Evil” poster was available if you mailed in a dollar (one-fifth the cost of the cologne itself). Don’t try to send a buck to the address today — they’re probably out.
Mr. J was not as academically accomplished as Dr. J, it seems. “It was made for a man who settles for nothing but the best.
A man who’s demanding about everything that comes into his life whether it’s a suit, a scent, or a siren. That’s what we called it Mr. J,” this ad boasts. Actually, that doesn’t explain the name at all.
Old Spice Musk for Men
Old Spice rebuilt its brand for the 21st century on the back of dada commercials starring Terry Crews.
Forty years ago, the models were also topless, but with much less intentional humor.
Aramis was right there with Brut and Old Spice in the battle for gentlemen’s bodies.
This 1978 ad aims for a more sophisticated crowd, those silver foxes still dreaming of James Bond.
Hi Karate, which sounds like one of the fake colognes in Anchorman, was in many ways the Axe Body Spray of its time.
The brand offered tongue-in-cheek self-defense instructions for fending off women. This was essentially the start of ironic cologne advertising, aiming right at the adolescent market.
Hi Karate Oriental Lime
And it came in a citrus scent, for those who wanted the feel of a freshly opened can of 7UP.
Musk by English Leather
This ticks all the boxes. Musk? Check. Leather? Check. Soap on a rope? Check. Wild animal? Check.
The manliness is off the charts. As the models in the TV commercials proclaimed, “All my men wear English Leather, or they wear nothing at all.”
(Photo credit: Pinterest / Flickr / MeTV Network).