What old timers refer to as a “simpler time” was really just a “simple minded time” where ignorance roamed the land, free to attack whoever it saw fit. Smoking was sexy and sometimes patriotic. Amphetamines were safe and racism was so common it was simply the way of life. Advertisements not only demonstrated what was socially acceptable in America at the time, but they also served to perpetuate these beliefs.
Just as they do today, ads take an idea and put it in the public eye so often it becomes the norm. Ads have perpetuated racism, sexism, and discrimination in the workplace and military for decades. Not that everyone in modern society has fully evolved but for the most part, looking back it’s plain to see we’ve come a long way.
The Coalition for Abstinence Education laughably thought the way to keep the American youth 'pure' with their virginity intact, was to compare those who didn't to Hitler. Because premarital sex is somehow comparable to mass genocide. Nevermind the fact that the only other person that was hardcore preaching about their concept of 'purity' at the time was in fact, Hitler.
This Fairy Soap ad plays into the idea that African Americans are dirty and need the help of the enlightened white-skinned Americans to help them. "Why doesn't your mamma wash you with Fairy Soap?" The little white girl asks. They not only show the white girl clean, but she’s also dressed in nice clothes, whereas the African American child is dressed in tatters and has no shoes.