Patriotic advertising: selling with war

Sociological Images has a nice gallery up called "United We Buy," showcasing the use of war and patriotism in advertising from WWII up to the present day. That's some weird-ass WD-40.

United We Buy: Using Patriotism and War to Sell Products


    1. I don’t doubt that it keeps our military running.  WD-40 is also handy for beading a tubeless tire that has lost its seal – you don’t even have to remove the rim from the vehicle.

      Here’s a YouTube video (just one of many) –

  1. Oh, great. Now I have to give up using WD-40.

    In an ideal world, the people who are so hot to fight would be given their choice of weapons and dumped on an island together to work it out.

    1. So ignorant.  The military isn’t “hot to fight” but there to stand between you and those who want to destroy you.  No one with a brain is eager for combat and the US Military is better educated than the general populace.

      1. As a military veteran I know you are right and wrong. Military personnel actually have much worse educations on the average. The military still gets a lot of dropouts and people who for whatever reason just can’t find any other way of getting a paycheck. The number of recruits fell off so much that they had to relax the regs on enlisting Category 4s – people whose IQs are well below average, and who typically are very bad soldiers. But they needed warm bodies, so they take them. You’re right in that nobody with more than half a brain is “hot to fight.”  Even in the military, they realize that anyone who is hot to go face bullets and mines and possibly going home in a box with a card on the lid reading “remains not viewable” needs psychiatric help. But when you get in a situation where the only way out of a jam is to charge uphill straight at the firing slit of a machine gun bunker, it’s useful to have some of that type around.

    2. There are way better products than WD-40!  My personal favorite for a penetrating lube / rust buster is Blaster PB, that stuff is amazing.  For actual lubrication I prefer something with silicone or Teflon in it; wd40 dries out way too fast.  Some people swear by Kroil for penetrating lube.  I haven’t tried it as I’m usually in a time pinch and you need to order it online in most cities.  Not many stores stock it.  Plus it’s expensive.  WD-40 is really a rather poor lubricant and only a mediocre penetrant / rust buster.  Even regular motor oil lubricates better since it won’t dry out.

  2. Works for me.  A family of Marines who defend the rest of you is not ashamed by the tools of that defense.

    1. A family of Marines who defend the rest of you is not ashamed by the tools of that defense.

      And how does that family feel about its noble sacrifices being co-opted to sell breakfast cereal and cigarettes?

  3. This is not honoring our armed forces. This is crass commercialism at its most nauseating. Those cans depict a phony non-declared “war” that we shouldn’t be in in the first place.  There was no declaration of war.  We got into it because our Congress which is composed entirely of corporate whores didn’t have the balls to take the political risk of debating going to war, so they passed a resolution giving the President dictatorial powers because that way they can mealy-mouth their way around the issue by saying they “did” something and at the same time they think they can evade any responsibility.  The orders were issued by a moron President who wanted his own private war for his own purposes because he knew that so far we’ve never voted a President out of office during a ‘war,’ and the the most demonstrably evil Vice-President who has ever befouled the White House who wanted a war so his friends in big business could loot the Treasury with no-bid contracts.  The phony “war” has been prolonged by another President who is an utterly cyncial opportunist who realized the same thing the moron President did – that war is good for his personal political business.  Those labels appeal to the WORST of this country – the most ignorant knee-jerk jingoistic redneck idiots, the lowest in intelligence and the most hypocritical in really supporting the “war.” Millions of those things will be sold to missing-tooth inbred clods who like to whoop and holler about war when they know their huge beer-bloated asses are safe, but in reality they are worthless cowards who would throw their grandmothers under a tank to avoid actually doing the military service they slobber about, and even if they did want to sign up they’re too fat and stupid to pass the tests.

  4. Why not be patriotic. It was developed for the military anyways.

    “WD-40 stands for “Water Displacement – 40th Attempt”. Larsen was
    attempting to concoct a formula to prevent corrosion in nuclear
    missiles, by displacing the standing water that causes it. ”

    Seems like a moot point, more poor graphic design than poor taste.

    1. Plus WD-40 is a San Diego-based company and is a big supporter of the military and military families in town. I know that folks here aren’t big fans of the military industrial complex, but the folks at WD-40 really do a lot of good work for veterans and military families. Sorry to ruin the fun dogpile. 

  5. What Schlitz doesn’t tell you was that the one in four bottles sent overseas was encased in a chemical weapon shell.

    Thank the Gods we never had to use those things.

  6. Those shredded wheat ads weren’t using war imagery.  The war was part of everyday life for everyone, and most ads of the time reflected that.

  7. Ah, America – Where you can still print depictions of weapons and war on random products… 
    just as long as theres no nipples or pubes showing… you know, for the kids.

  8. For me, WD-40 is something that’s indispensable to have around, but which doesn’t get used much (as for serious lubrication jobs, other stuff works better). When you need it, though, you need it.

    I’ve had the same can kicking around since 2004 – I bought it when I first moved out (to the dorms, as a university freshman) and couldn’t just use my dad’s. It’s come with me now from NY to California, where I’ve lived since 2008. I think it’s in my car trunk right now (recently moved and a lot of stuff hasn’t left my trunk yet).

    So, if I were faced with the prospect of getting a new can, because my old one ran dry or I lost it or whatever, I’d be stuck – knowing that I’ll probably have the new can around for years and years, I certainly would not want one of these abominations and would probably search for a competing product (though I don’t think there is one that is both an aerosol spray – its key useful feature – and inexpensive and available locally).

  9. WD-40 is not a lubricant, it’s a solvent! “WD” stands for “water displacer,” don’t use it in place of grease or oil! This is why your childhood BMX chain was all orange with rust, not because you left it out in the rain.

  10. They’re not trying feature war; they’re trying to covertly diversify their market.  They can’t advertise it as a weapon, but have you ever taped a barbecue lighter in front of the spray nozzle of one of these things?  It’s a freakin’ flamethrower! YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH.

  11. We always carry two things on the truck: Duct tape for things that move but shouldn’t and WD-40 for things that don’t move but should ;-) Seriously, it is not the best at most things, but it is *good* for a lot of things, which makes it a handy compromise.
    Re all the, “Eeeek! Glorification of the Military and war..”

  12. I giggled ( apart from asdfasdf) all the way down until I saw “Marine Corps Pride. The British Harrier”.
    I cannot explain to you how much it means to us as Airstrip Oners, to know that the ability to take off and land on a (sixpence/cent) coin has been passed on to our (neighbours/joiners/masters) to make so much necessary use of.  
    The unicorn wars were so brutal, we didn’t even know if they really shat rainbows, and never will since they all died pimping Lehmann Bros.  And then we looked to the skies, the yellow skies, we could barely see the moon, but it was there.  No consolation, until the balloons came.  And they came, and they came.  They dropped unusual stuff, sometimes NSFW stuff, but they dropped stuff. My son actually asked me “Is this what it’s like?” as he watched the balloons. I said “No, son, he wears goggles and a cape.  Watch the skies”………goggles and a cape……..

  13. Doesn’t matter how much that F-22 costs; it’s a machine with moving parts, and it’s going to need a little WD-40 now and then.

    Did you guys know we put tape on our B-2s?  $1.2 billion aircraft and we need to tape it up after each flight.

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