The Most Disturbing “Floating Head” Ads From The Mid-20th Century

For about 20 years — late 1930s to late 1950s — disembodied living human heads ruled over American print advertising. For celebrity endorsements, it was a way to get famous faces up big in the layouts. I tried and failed to find the person or agency that started this creepy ad technique. But they most certainly deserve a place in the Advertising Hall Of Fame.

I’ve seen hundreds of these ads in the last 15 years. These are the most disturbing.

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“My theoretical lungs are pleased.”

On his way to becoming the 40th President, Reagan starred in a 1951 film where he tried to teach human morals to a chimpanzee. Here he lends his head and right hand to help sell cigars.

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Except for the occasional HEAD cold.

GE advertising its electron microscope in 1943. The 100% healthy girl represents “a dream in the minds and hearts of mankind”. The girl donated her body to science. GE kept her perfectly preserved head in their lab for motivational purposes.

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Human bodies do not have a wishbone.

Another 1943 GE ad, this one tastefully (*sarcasm*) pushing their appliances during wartime. Don’t worry, Even if Hubby comes home in a body bag (heh), they’ll be plenty of other lonely GIs floating around.

The “Whoosh” Where’s My Body? Women, circa 1956.

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FEED YOUR HEAD, MODERN MOM.

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“Haha, haha, I don’t have lungs so I can’t drown!”

Nobody likes “floaties” in their laxative.

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Bingo’s floating head (and floating bow tie!) “sings” for Star-Kist.

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Eggheads

1952 IBM ad featuring rows of floating enginerd heads and hands. A truly scary visual.

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When he holds in his burps, they go out the bottom of his neck.

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“Kiss my head, girls, KISS MY HEAD! (Um, could you clean off the lipstick, I don’t have hands.)”

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The HUGE fucking head of Arthur Godfrey pushes tubes to the “ladies”.

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STAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Copywriter/Copyranter. My hockey wrist shot is better than yours.

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