Let’s Review Vintage Mother’s Day Ads ‘Cause the Aussie Ones Hit Different

In 2023, you can be a baller buying Mother’s Day gifts. You can get your mum a Sphynx cat named Fluffy. You can get your mum an edible arrangement. You can get your mum a DVD of every Tom Hanks movie ever released. And the list goes on.

However, what was Mother’s Day like in the ye olden times? Was it even any good before Polar Express came to cinemas?

Now, unfortunately, I don’t have a time machine. But I do have access to some old Australian Mother’s Day ads. These pics will give us the chance to judge entire decades based solely on one pic.

So, let’s stop faffing about, let’s get into it. Let’s review some old Mother’s Day ads and determine what they said about their time.

Foy’s – 1949

A Mother’s Day ad for a Foy’s shopping jeep.
Image: Foy’s

Mates, 1949 was a profoundly different time. Not only did Australian citizenship come into being, but a shopping jeep was apparently a lit Mother’s Day gift.

“A strong canvas bag in green or burgundy, fitted onto a tubular frame with rubber-tyred wheels,” boasts Foy’s ad. “Light to push, with a good roomy capacity.”

However, in 2023, this just can’t compete with a dainty, overpriced handbag. If I were to get my mum a shopping jeep, I think I’d become her least favourite son. And my only other sibling is my sister.

I therefore give this Mother’s Day ad and the year 1949 a mid 5/10.

Johnson & Johnson – 1977

A Mother’s Day ad for Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder.
Image: Johnson & Johnson

In 2023, Johnson & Johnson stated that they’d distribute $8.9 billion USD to tens of thousands of people. This is because this group of folks have claimed that Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder gave them cancer.

However, we’re not here to discuss this perturbing case. We’re here to discuss this perturbing talcum ad from 1977. Because honestly, it’s exuding a dark energy. 

The soft lighting? The dead smile of the mother actress? The splashes of cocaine white across the page? It’s all very American Psycho.

I therefore declare this Mother’s Day ad and the year 1977 unreviewable.

Woolworths – 1988

A Mother’s Day ad for some Woolworths’ baking dishes.
Image: Woolworths

If this ad is anything to go on, the 1980s must have slayed. Why? Because my mum actually still has some of these baking dishes, and they’re incredible.

These dishes can survive some gnarly drops. They have contained sticky date puddings and butterscotch pies. According to the Woolworth’s ad, they can even be “put on the table.” These babies can do everything. 

I therefore give this Mother’s Day ad and the year 1988 an impressive 9/10.

Related: Reviewing Valentine’s Ads From the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s

Related: Reviewing Some Christmas Catalogues From the 1980s and 1990s

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.