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Persuasion lessons from old-school “Mad Men”-style coffee ads.

Persuasion lessons from old-school, “Mad Men”-style coffee ads.

Are you a fan of coffee?

Are you a fan of the TV show Mad Men about advertising back in the 60s and (in later episodes) the 70s?

I love checking out old advertisements AND studying the persuasion techniques. Audiences may be more savvy these days – but many techniques are still persuasive and powerful.

Check out these old coffee ads (some before the 60s) and look at:

1. What they are selling? – besides  the coffee! What are they “promising” – how coffee will make life better?

 2. The memorable and repeatable tag lines.


My favourite line is: Husband-pleasin’ heartiness


cofFee ads WLEC

The writing may be a bit small or you to read – but the opening words are “THINK BETTER!”


coffee ad student


coffee ad HPH


These ads are persuasive because they:

1. promise benefits and sell more than just the coffee – alertness for thinking better, alertness for studying, helping your son/boyfriend with study, approval of spouse etc.

2. harness the power of the senses – even if it’s the image of the smell of coffee

3. put YOU in the ad with the inclusive language of YOU – give yourself a coffee real, if your husband is fussy


Plus look at all the promises of happiness – all those smiling faces because they are having coffee!

What did YOU come up with? – what are they selling besides the coffee?  Please  feel free to add to the comments below.

If you like retro ads – here’s a link to a great resource to ads over different decades – including the Edward R Murrow coffee break ad. It’s amazing how many big celebrities did ads over the years.

Why I love coffee so much:


Hi I’m Tony Biancotti

When I worked as a TV reporter and travel show producer, I used to love visiting cafes around the world  – sampling the delights from refined European coffees to rough and earthy Timor coffees.

One of my less-insulting nicknames as a reporter was “Tony Tea and Coffee” (instead of Tony Biancotti) – because I’d always be off trying the local cafes and tea and coffee.

vespa coffee cup

TB note taking at ST

If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting please feel free to connect with me and maybe even follow.

I blog lots about about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips – and yes…about coffee and cafes! 


tony biancotti


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