Smorgasbord of vintage African TV ads

I recently spent about a month in several West African countries (I'm typing this now from Central America). During my short stay on the continent, I became obsessed with local TV commercials. I believe you can learn a lot about any culture through its ads. I taped a bunch of stuff in hotel rooms, and will blog clips sometime soon — but for now, I wanted to point to some super cool vintage African TV ads I found online, from the '60s and '70s.

You can find some great classic 1960s TV commercials from Africa on sites like YouTube and, but all of that stuff appears to originate from one source: the amazing Africa archives at About a dozen MPEG files there, and products include everything from perfume to cool old cars to booze to cigarettes (add it up, you got a recipe for the good life). You can't link directly to the index of Africa commercials, or to any individual videos therein — the site navigation kind of stinks. But if you search for "Africa" you'll find the stuff.

Here are a few favorites that originated in Adeater's archive: a retro hair product commercial (Petrole Hahn, screengrab above), Omo washing powder (I wonder if the boxer was a famous fighter at the time?), Ploum Ploum men's cologne (avec heavily sedated dancing), An Ivory Coast bank ad from 1967 (my how the economic promise has changed in this country).

And here's a wild 1976 spot for Gauloises cigarettes (screengrab below), presumably for French-speaking West African audiences. Dig the sweet cha-cha-cha score. Includes kung fu fight scene with vigorous chair-tossing and bottle-breakage over heads. "Gauloises, the cigarette of a strong man."

Update: here's another vintage African ad for Omo laundry soap, this one from Algeria: Link.

( posted from Guatemala / Xeni )