All Kinds of Wrong - Vintage Folger’s Commercial Circa 1950’s

by Samantha on July 30, 2011

Welcome to the first installment of “All Kinds of Wrong” on the Multiple Mayhem Mamma blog.

You may have surmised by now that I’m somewhat sarcastic and have low tolerance for nonsense. As well, I have a penchant for all things referencing to the past, my youth and prior as well.

The combination of these two facts has resulted in something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time: analyze vintage television. Commercials and TV shows from bygone eras have both entertained and equally annoyed beyond belief, when held up to the standards of the modern era. 

How far back shall we go? Well, I’m thinking that “The Golden Age of Television,” better known as the 1950’s is a good place to start. The era that brought us Lucy in the chocolate factory and June Cleaver in a crinoline skirt is ripe for criticism. Sorry in advance to all those who will be offended but I just can’t help myself. I’ve wanted to do this for years.

And speaking of June Cleaver: who in the world wears pearls and heels to clean the house??

Image courtesy of

Okay, sorry for the long preamble. Here we go with “All Kinds of Wrong, Volume 1: Folger’s Commercial Circa 1950’s”

Check this out:

This cringe-worthy relic from the past is just begging for dissection. Here we go:

Problem #1: “Harvey” wants nothing more than “a decent cup of coffee” for his birthday. Oh, really? he goes on to tell his wife (whom he clearly loves dearly and respects) that her coffee is “undrinkable” and that “the girls down at the office make better coffee on their hot plates.”


Harvey is a Grade A jerk and needs to be read the riot act. First of all, what is with telling his wife that her coffee is “undrinkable?” I’ll go out on a limb and make an assumption that, based on Harvey’s male chauvinist demeanor, he has never even tried to make a cup of coffee for himself. Furthermore, if he did, he would probably do such a miserable job of it that he would quickly be longing for the supposed “undrinkable” coffee that his lovely wife made. Harvey needs to learn a thing or two, no?

Problem #2: Harvey needs to be educated that if the female contingent at his office are indeed working, they are likely over the age of 18, are able to support their families, and therefore are not at all girls, but women. In addition, it’s probably a sad indication of the fact that it was the norm that Harvey was even asking these “girls” to make coffee for him in the first place. Even if it was on their “hot plates.” Yikes!

Problem #3: Sorry, “wife,” but you’re not outside the line of fire, either. Why, oh, why are you allowing Harvey to speak to you this way? Why on earth did you not tell Harvey to make his own darn cup of coffee, rather than bemoaning to your friend that he “didn’t even kiss [you] goodbye” when he left in the morning? Did you really want to kiss Harvey after his patently disrespectful treatment of you? If the answer is still yes, then bad-tasting coffee is the least of your problems.

Problem #4: The wife bemoans “If I could just make a decent cup of coffee, I could relax.” Does anyone see the irony here? First off, she desperately needs a hobby if she’s this worked up about making coffee. Someone needs to tell her that in the larger scheme of things, coffee is not that important. Secondly, coffee is not something that is known to make one relax. If anything, it’s the opposite. Funny.

Problem #5: The so-called friend in this commercial should consider counseling her brow-beaten buddy and school her on what is and is not acceptable treatment from her spouse. Perhaps she could let the wife in this scenario know that Harvey is very capable of making his own cup of coffee in the mornings, thank-you very much. As well, perhaps she could help the wife along with some self-esteem-boosting affirmations and exercises, ya think?

I wanted to say “three strikes and you’re out,” but there were so many more than three problems with this commercial. I could go on and on, but the sufficient points have been made: being a housewife in the ’50’s doesn’t appear to have been too much fun. Guess the “Good Old Days” weren’t so good after all.

What do you think of this commercial?

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