For the ’60s housewife portrayed in these old coffee ads, the best part of waking up wasn’t the Folgers in her cup – it was having her husband finally quit berating her for making an awful cup of joe.
That is the way a local grocery store worker named Mr. McGregor, a recurring character in Folgers coffee ads of the 1960s, describes his “brand-new, can’t-miss” product.
McGregor’s sexist description is but one cringeworthy detail from the company’s coffee ads of yesteryear. It is not the only sexist ad from that era — many ads portrayed women as wives or mothers, sometimes scantily clad, with one main objective: to get, or please, a man.
The Folgers commercials often followed the same story arc.
They started with a woman serving her husband a cup of coffee in the kitchen, often before work or after a meal. He “ughs” and “oh, no’s” in disgust and hurls an insult at his wife, often noting he can get better coffee elsewhere, or so-and-so makes it better. In one instance, the man dumps his coffee out in his wife’s garden.
Many of the ads end with a pleased, smiling, adoring — and well-caffeinated — husband, gushing thankfully at his wife. He often serves her one last dig, as in one instance when a husband sips his cup-o-joe and says, “Hey! Great coffee! What happened?”
Sexism in ads is still prevalent where the narrator suggests a referee “trains” to “take a beating” (a.k.a. a screaming fit from a coach) at home by listening to his wife yell because he has not tended to his household chores and projects.
The social mores and sexism portrayed in the ad seem absurd now, but at the time there were a wave of ads with a similar theme of woman uses X product to please dissatisfied husband. Many of them were also filmed in the same sitcom style, with the script, camerawork and behavior of the actors making it feel like you might be watching “Leave It to Beaver.”
(via The Washington Post)