A visual history of pharmaceutical drug ads

sufrimiento_neuronal_ad.jpgThere’s a wonderful collection of borderline-psychedelic drug adverts taken from the Spanish magazine Cl√≠nica Rural during the 1960s.

There’s now quite a collection of drug adverts on the net, giving an interesting historical and cultural insight into how mind altering medication has been pitched to consumers over the years.

The Japanese Gallery of Psychiatric Art is one of my favourites, which contains some equally kitsch artwork from 1956 to the present.

Alternatively, this gallery has a collection of American drug adverts including the surprising advert for the drug Thorazine captioned “Tyrant in the house? Thorazine can help control the agitated, belligerent senile”.

At the time of this advert, drugs like Thorazine (also known by its generic name chlorpromazine) were marketed as major tranquillisers.

One of its other trade-names was Largactil, intended to communicate the idea that it was ‘large acting’ and could be used to treat most forms of mental disorder.

This class of drug was then re-branded as ‘neuroleptics’, and now as ‘anti-psychotics’, showing the ongoing process of marketing and re-marketing that occurs as drug companies position themselves to best promote their wares.

Link to Spanish drug ads gallery (via BB).
Link to the Japanese Gallery of Psychiatric Art.
Link to vintage drug ads page.

1 thought on “A visual history of pharmaceutical drug ads”

  1. I’m writing several lesson plans for high-school kids, comparing vintage with modern pharmaceutical ads. I’d be grateful if people share their insights into the history of pharma advertising.

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