Do you remember standing in your swimming costume on a beach, feet scorched by the sand and a few coins clutched in your hand as you looked up spellbound at the brightly coloured posters advertising ice cream? Or when you stared through the window of shops selling electrical appliances, watching the televisions showing adverts for chocolate sticks, cones and tubs of vanilla-flavoured wonder?
Looking back at old posters and TV adverts and rereading the names of ice creams that have now disappeared without trace takes us back to those distant summers that seemed to last forever. Here we’ve gathered together a few famous ice cream adverts from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s: we thought August was the ideal month to refresh your memory with a plunge into the past!
The packaged ice cream, a symbol of the modern age
At the end of the 1940s, the look of ice cream changed. Handmade styles were passé; the new invention for the post-war age was packaged, industrially produced ice cream, which tasted of modernity and could be kept in your freezer at home.
The first packaged ice cream in Italy, the Mottarello Motta, arrived in 1948, and symbolised a changing society that aspired to new levels of wealth. In cafes, children were enchanted by the screen-printed metal posters covered in brightly coloured images of the “nutritious and refreshing” American-style Motta ice cream on a stick.
Viewers at home watched the Carosello TV programme (broadcasting the first-ever ads on prime time national TV in Italy) , and enjoyed the pranks played by little siblings Toto and Tata (on air from 1961 to 1965) who, once they’d been put to rights by their mother, were given a Motta cone as a snack.
Viewers also followed passionately the adventures of Gigino Pestifero, written in the 1960s by writer Giovannino Guareschi to promote Tanara ice cream.
Not to mention the adverts for Toseroni ice cream.
Meanwhile, in 1950s America, Borden’s promoted its fruit- and chocolate-flavoured ice creams with an advert in which two children drew visuals for the company’s products. The teacher said: “Make sure you get the kind with my picture on the wrapper. That means it’s Borden’s, and if it’s Borden’s, it’s got to be good!” And why wouldn’t children or parents trust a teacher?
The 1950s were also the boom years of home electrical appliances. The lucky people who could afford a freezer could enjoy the luxury of eating ice cream without leaving the house. Here is an advert for Borden’s Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream, a family-size tub of ice cream you could store in your freezer.
Streets is an Australian ice cream company, now owned by multinational group Unilever. An old advert from the 1960s offered a behind-the-scenes peek at the glittering world of show business. Everyone, from the ballerinas to the cameramen, was eating a Cornetto.
After 1968, society changed. These were years of creativity, rule-breaking and political struggle, in which music provided the soundtrack to the life of scores of youngsters. In the ice cream adverts by Algida in Italy (the company known as Wall’s in the UK), the company spoke directly to children, using their language. The stars they chose to represent the brand came from the world of music, including the singers Rita Pavone, with the phrase “Can I tell you something? There’s an Algida down there that’s tempting me” and Patty Pravo, who advertised Paiper, “the ice cream of the new world”. Another ice cream with an enigmatic name was Bikini, which took its name from the risqué-for-the-time two-piece swimsuit. Here’s an old poster for Algida ice creams from 1971.
Eldorado, the line of Algida ice cream for young children, chose a renowned cartoon character as its brand ambassador: Cocco Bill, the hero avenger who lived in the Wild West and gave children Eldorado ice creams. Here is one of his adventures, broadcast in 1971 and, underneath, a poster for Eldorado ice cream featuring the cowboy’s picture.
In 1978, Atlas UFO Robot landed on Italian television, a cartoon that was to go down in history. Children began to dream about going on adventures through space, their imaginations filled with spaceships and aliens. It was no coincidence that space provided the backdrop to this 1978 Eldorado ice cream poster.
This entertaining advert from Sealtest Dairy, meanwhile, dating from the early 1970s, is aimed at young and old alike. The child is extremely embarrassed to admit that the healthy and nutritious snack his mum has chosen for him, a Sealtest ice cream, also tastes good. But shhh! Don’t tell his friends!
The company’s aim of reassuring mothers about the nutritional value of its products was also clear from the visuals for its advertising campaigns in the 1950s and 1960s, where the ice cream was always accompanied by images of fresh fruit.
Some of these ads may be bringing back memories, while others will be remnants of a world you never knew. This is where our journey back in time ends, partly because all this talk of ice cream has put us in the mood for enjoying one! On behalf of everyone at Pixartprinting, have a good summer!