As the ads hawking cocaine accessories proved, advertising in the ’70s was a lot less shameless than it pretends to be now. Dangerous Minds also discovered a curious trend from the same decade involving stereo equipment, namely that brands tried to appeal to the most chauvinistic corner of the market possible with ads for speakers and subwoofers that objectify women.
As far as these ads are concerned, listening to music is solely a man’s interest. Why would women ever care about having cool stereo equipment?
For example, this Sony ad just straight up shows nipples and woman getting pushed up against a glass sliding door.
Apparently Empire felt that they couldn’t sell a turntable without ample sideboob:
Empire 59811 Troubador Turntable ad, 1973. Ad reads: “Stereo is like loving – you give a lot to get a lot.
Same with BSR:
Oh hey, here’s a receiver even your dumb nag of a wife can operate:
Fisher 800-B stereo ad, 1970s. Additional text for the ad read: “Put her fears to rest. The Fisher 800-B Stereo Receiver is on her side. Neat, uncluttered, uncomplicated. No ‘electronics’ all over the house. Just one unit that takes up no more space than a dozen books. Looks great, too – and she can learn to operate it in a few minutes.”
Let’s hear it for breast puns:
Buy a Sony HP-188, get a threeway for free! 1970s
Pioneer SX-424 AM/FM Stereo receiver ad, 1970s
It’s not beyond my ability to comprehend that sex sells. Boobs are as beautiful as they are persuasive, and that will never change.
Empire Grenadier speaker ad, 1970s
Hugh Hefner-esque Akai stereo ad, 1970s
Electrophonic stereo ad, 1970s
The sexualization of things as mundane as receivers and speakers and gratuitous use of nudity isn’t an advertising trope that’s fallen by the wayside. Thankfully, the same can’t be said about ad copy that explicitly refers to a man’s wife as a “problem.”
11 Images That Prove Stereo Ads Were Really Raunchy Back In The ’70s