Vintage men's cologne ads from the 1960s and 1970s

Take a whiff of these musky commercials for scents of the past.

Dapper, globetrotting spies were all the rage in the 1960s. Colognes of the decade followed suit with exotic odors and suave ad campaigns. The 1970s, in contrast, were a decade of brown, denim, corduroy and body hair. It's no surprise that men's scents became so musky and manly. The colognes of the era seem straight out of Ron Burgundy's medicine cabinet.

Today's commercials for Old Spice and Axe are ironic and bizarre. There was no such sarcasm in these print ads of the past. Alas, scratch 'n' sniff technology has not yet made it to the Internet, but we can watch commercials. Close your eyes and you can practically smell Chuck Norris.

Did you buy any of these studly scents?

1. Brut


An eyepatch always toughens up a man's look, even when it's a medallion from a bottle of drug store after shave. Brut utilized one of the more famous men in green of the time, Joe Namath.

2. Mandom


Charles Bronson pitched this tough scent. In 1976, it didn't get much manlier than Bronson — mustache, pipe and all.

3. It's Cricket

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.

4. Jaguar

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 tube of nuclear material.

5. Jovan's Sex Appeal


Hands down the most heavy 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.

6. Macho Musk


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.

7. Sean

Not to be confused with Puff Daddy's Sean John.

8. Ginseng

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.

9. Mr. J

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.

10. 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.

11. Aramis


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.

12. Hi Karate


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 is was essentially the start of ironic cologne advertising, aiming right for the adolescent market. 

13. Hi Karate Oriental Lime


And it came in a citrus scent, for those who wanted the feel of freshly opened can of 7UP.

14. 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." 

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EricFuller 38 months ago
I liked British Sterling myself.
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