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80 years of Vintage Celebrity Ads • • •

It takes more than talent to have a long career in Hollywood, and our beloved stars of past and present have turned to many a lucrative endorsement deal to pump up their incomes and their images. Selling everything from fur coats to furniture to face cream, many of these ads have shaped our popular culture and influenced trends for decades. 

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Entries in Wilton Cigarettes (1)


Ads According to Ava

Inspired by a marathon of Ava Gardner movies - I present to you the advertising stylings of Hollywood's favorite non-Elizabeth-Taylor-brunette. That face was good enough to woo loverboy Frank Sinatra and seduce scores of men in the movies and the movie theaters. She put her fame to good use endorseing a variety of products primarily in the 1950s.

Lustre-Creme lured Ava for a 1953 Shampoo ad putting her among the ranks of a parade of Lustre-Creme coiffed starlets. This ad coincided with the release of her MGM film Mogumbo. Also in 1953 Max Factor recruited Ava to endorse their Face Powder with a tie in to her Knights of the Round Table movie. According to Ava, Max Factor face powder,

Keeps your make up so perfectly matt for hours. Gives your complexion that fascinating look of perfection. 

I'll ignore the odd grammar and phrasing (and questionable, ok WRONG, spelling) and just say that I don't remember the fur and diamonds from the movie, but Ava's face does look fascinatingly mattE and perfect.  

Ava branched out of the cosmetics industry with endorsements of Wilton Cigarettes in 1950 and Cameo Stockings in 1953. This ad for Wilton is from Argentina - my crude translation indicates that it refers to her as the Star of The Great Sinner by MGM. I presume the rest tells me how  smooth and healthy Wilton cigarettes are and how they will make me look and smell super glamorous. That's what they usually say anyways. Feel free to translate and tell me all about it in the comments. Meanwhile, I love this 1953 ad for Cameo stockings. I quote,

Keep that soft misty glamour right down to your toes. Ava Gardner and dozens of other MM stars know that shiny stockings pick up ugly highlights, make lovely legs look unshapely. That's why MGM stars wear Bur-Mil Cameo stocking on the screen and off. Cameo's exclusive Face Powder Finish glamorizes their legs with permanently soft silky dullness.

Now that's some copywriting! Shiny stocking make your legs look bumpy and unshapely while ours make them look soft, misty, glamorous AND dull! Quite a promise! What is "soft, misty glamour" anyways? Misty and legs don't seem to really belong together as a concept.

This last ad from 1990 by Krizia perfume for Dillards features a beautiful photo of Ava as a young girl. Who knows if she or her estate authorized it... but it was too precious not to share.