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.