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One Of The Most Insane Ad Campaigns Ever Created

The Ethyl Gasoline ads from the early 1950s were illustration masterpieces — and seriously taxed the left brain.

1.

The Ethyl Gasoline Corporation was formed in 1923 by General Motors and Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso). Their gas additive’s big selling point was “antiknocking.” Unfortunately, it was a lead additive, found later to be toxic to humans/animals/earth.

2.

The poor illustrator (UPDATE: The man’s name was Keith Ward, at least on some of them) was tasked with making two rhyming things look nearly exactly alike. Most of the time, they did pretty damn well! Most of the time.

3.

So the basic strategy of the ads was: Even though regular gas and Ethyl gas look the same, they’re actually very different. It was — considering that this was about a decade before the so-called Mad Men revolution in advertising — a very creative campaign.
But it was some seriously out-of-left-field borrowed interest.

4.

The mind behind this idea had to have been fueled by hallucinogens.

5.

kinda looks like a pansy.

7.

Nice effort!

9.

Had to make the ape pretty grapey.

10.

Illustrator had to veer into cartoon style to try to make some of these work.

See eight more of these strange ads here.

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