Advertising in the Seventies

In 1970 TV advertisements were more like cinema ads with the posh voiceovers and orchestral music. Take a look at this precious collection of eight ads. Want to emigrate to Australia or join the men in mining?! The sinister voiceover for Tufty is worrying as his friend gets hit by a car because he didn’t take his mummy with him to the ice cream van. We don’t get these types of scary voices now unless it’s in the advert about not paying your car tax. I wonder what that says about society/government 40 years on?

For mash get smashBy 1976 ads had changed quite a bit and they were more like short films. ‘The family’ was sacrosanct at this time when most were falling apart and the adverts that we saw on TV were either fictionalised sets of idealised family life or images from the past. This montage of seven ads clearly demonstrates the shift. The burger ad here is a classic example of the short film style of ad. The bird in the BT ad is reminiscent of Roobarb & Custard, a very British cartoon. However, the American influence is obvious with the Yorkie and Corona ads, both British companies. The Smash advert is classic ironic sci-fi in which we all believed that robots would replace us in the future.

The 3p Curly Wurly ad with school kids and Terry Scott playing the school boy role is funny. Very ‘Just William’ and possibly true to some school experiences but not mine! More like 1940’s or 50’s. Tufty was replaced by Charley Says, a difference in animation style and also the funny cat made to make you laugh rather than a fluffy toy style squirrel. But still as sexist with the asking mummy business (plus, can you imagine a kid being called Vera now?).

And just in case anyone hasn’t got lost down memory lane already, what about this Thames TV linkage. Classic!

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Green Cross Code

The Green Cross Code posterThe Green Cross Code was a road safety campaign where Dave Prowse, the bloke who played Darth Vader in Star Wars wore a superhero type suit and told kids how to cross the road safely. This was in the time before there were many special effects so it mattered that he was quite tall. I think he was also the jolly green giant, but can’t find any reference to that even on Wikipedia. So maybe it’s just my bad memory.

The Green Cross Code was a set of rules, one of which was that you weren’t supposed to cross behind parked cars, but to move further down the street to find a place without a parked car so that you could see clearly to cross. Of course, times have changed a lot since this public information film was shot. I imagine that street is now double-parked all the way down with speed bumps dissecting the road.

A number of celebrities would also appear in these films, such as Kevin Kegan (footballer) and Alvin Stardust (rock star). Presumably this was meant to appeal to the agegroup who would swoon over these people. Didn’t do nothing for me as I was only about five at the time! I liked the Green Cross Code man because he had a light-up watch that could transport him out of his little CCTV peep show and into the street. Fab stuff.

Another favourite road safety campaign of the Seventies was Tufty, as seen in this lovely animation. I was in the Tufty Club but only vaguely remember it, badges and the like. I think Tufty taught me how to ride a bike.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Watch out, watch out, there’s a Humphrey about!

Humphrey on

Back when milk was delivered to your doorstep, Unigate started up an advertising campaign which may well be one of the first successful branding exercises of the modern age. Red and white stripes, or the phrase ‘watch out, watch out’ still engenders a response from the over thirties.

The advertisements generally featured a celebrity (such as Frank Muir or Arthur Mullard) enjoying a glass of milk. The glass was put to one side as there was something else going on. Then there would be a shout of ‘Watch out, watch out, there’s a Humphrey about!’ A red and white striped straw would appear from outside of the camera shot and the milk would be sucked up. Then when the drinker went back to the glass, it was empty. Shock! The milk was stolen! The precious milk which cannot be replaced!

There was much speculation on who or what the Humphrey was and whether in future adverts we would see him. We didn’t. He remains a mystery and is only identified by his name and the red and white straw.

Humphrey Mug on was an excess of merchandising for this red and white straw which perhaps made more money than the milk itself, who knows? I had a mug like this one (don’t you just love google?) and it was my favourite mug until I broke it by trying to boil some milk in it. This was before microwaves and I put the cold milk in the mug and put that onto the electric hob. Come on, I was only nine!

There were ties, hats, stickers and all sorts. Many of these are now collectable. I found out while researching this post that Humphrey watches were awarded to milkmen as incentives to sell more milk.

The downside of this successful campaign was that it coincided with me gaining a reputation for eating other people’s food. Certain members of my family and school started to say, ‘Watch out, watch out, there’s a Josie about’ and collapse in hilarity as if they were the funniest people in the world. Humph!

Photos linked from

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room