Old Russian Ads

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Well, if to continue the ads subject started today, it’s pretty reasonably to mention that Russian modern advertisements have no style. I mean, during the long Soviet Era Russian people were deprived of the commercial initiative. Only the state sold small choice of goods to people via it’s wide trade network and they didn’t need to care about advertisement – people bought stuff just because they had no other choice. There were almost no any foreign goods in Russia during 70 years, and those that were for sale were mainly from the friendly Eastern-European communistic states and even those were considered by people as a big luck to buy, so they were not needed any advertisement and were out of stock in minutes after arriving to some state-owned shop. Nobody was allowed to run a shop or any other business including production or importing. So for 70 years the advertisement industry of Russia just ceased to exist and ceased to develop.

Later, when the Soviet Union collapsed and people were free to do what they want – in commercial meaning of this – the need for advertisement service arouse, but because none have any experience on design of such products they just went the simplest way – started copying advertisement looks from the Western world. That’s what we see now almost in any Russian or any else ex-Soviet city – the ads look like they are implants from some other kind of a commercial body – all their look, the fonts used etc – are alien for the Russian culture. It’s a great pity there are only a few tries to find the unique Russian commercial style in the outdoor or printed advertisement – and well, nobody knows how it should look the real Russian Ad.

Meanwhile here we have some ads from the past, from the times when they still had the initiative to buy sell produce and advertise. Maybe they carry some key for how the modern Russian ads should be looking, but of course just copying this 100 year old style won’t solve the problem, it would look so outdated.

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“Soap”

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“Help the victims of the World War I”

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“Help poor children – buy RED eggs”

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“5.5% military loan”

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“Fruit candies”

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“Coffee”

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“Cocoa”

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This one and three below – ads for cigarettes. No Marlboro.

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“Knitwear”

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“Tea”

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“Cigarettes”

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“Guns, goods for travel and sports”. By the way nowadays handguns are banned in Russia.

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“Shoes”

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Hm.. It doesn’t say what it advertises.

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This one neither. Maybe sweets?

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“Soap and perfumes”

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“Perfume”

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Not quite clear..

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“Anti insects service”

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Maybe vodka?

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“Beer”

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“Shoes”

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“Seamer”

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“Help poor people”

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“Cigarettes”

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“Colors, brushes, and other”

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“Cigarettes”

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“Beer”

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“Soda”

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“Vegetable oil”

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“Bicycles”

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“Building airplanes”

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“Candies”

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“Shoes”

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“Cocoa”

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“Cookies”

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“Soap”

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“Soap”

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“Cigarettes”

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“Cigarettes”

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“Cigarettes”

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“Cookies”

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“Rubber belts”

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“Beer”

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“Cocoa”

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“An exhibition”

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“An exhibition”

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“Shoes”

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“Shoes”

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“Typing machine ‘Underwood'”

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“Powder”. Weird ad.

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“Perfumes”

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“Soap”

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“Shoes”

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“Russian-Swedish Sports Exhibition”

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“Cigarettes”

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“Cigarettes”

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“Cigarettes”

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“Ceramics exhibition”

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“Soap”

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This one is nice: “Portable Heating Stoves”

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“Cigarettes”

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“Shoes”

Well, they of course look outdated but don’t look as hostile as modern Western ads in Russian cities. Those have some Russian feel.

75 thoughts on “Old Russian Ads”

    • OMG this is disgusting madness. This ads shows russians are 100 years behind the west when it comes to advertising art, design and technology. NONE of them would stand a chance againsst talented western advertisers. they are all rubbish to me or maybe it works for kids? Who knows 🙁

      • Pinche vieja nefasta esta estúpida pendeja de la miss india. Por eso estamos como estamos con pendejas insultantes como ella.

        Vete a la chingada pinche vieja amargada jodida. Ve a buscar a ver quién chingados te hace el favor.

        Let’s see if this message gets through.

  1. this is a great collection of ads. and as far as your comment on finding “true modern russian ads”, design will continue to be influenced by the west since so much of the russian culture looks up to the brands of the western world. is a bit sad, but that is the global impact of this new economy. its incredible and hard to believe that an entire society is now experiencing capitalism’s worst product; the flood of product advertising.

    must be shocking indeed.

    • yes… in fact almost every ads we can see here are very very similar to ads from Paris or Spain 100 years ago, whit russian themes and caracteres, of course, but all of them have the same style of the western advertise.

      I prefer russian Avant-garde style and of course every artprint of the socialist era! those cinema avant-garde posters and almost every propaganda art-print of the comunist times have more to teach to publicity and media of today than any of this examples!

  2. Wow! These are gorgeous. I wish the images were larger–I would use some of the wide-format ones for desktop wallpaper.

    I was getting a little confused with the cyrillic–I’ve just started learning Russian and it took me a while to realize that these are from before the spelling reform that got rid of a few letters…

  3. Meant to ask, also–Is that armored fellow anyone in particular? He seems to appear in several of the ads. Example is the cigarette ad, seventh up from the bottom (just above the Ottoman cigarette ad).

    • Just an archetype of a Russian vityaz (Middle Ages warrior), I guess. Though in some cases it might be some specific fabled hero like Ilya Murometz or Dobrynya Nikitich.

  4. I love the cigarette ad with the guys firing cigarettes out of the cannon. In fact I’d pay good money for a poster-sized version of that one!

  5. seems like shoes market was close to perfect competition 🙂

    great post…

    to the webmaster: all these longer text introductions u started to add on this new year make this site much more interesting… but remember I personally still need the cheerleaders posts too.

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  7. Look for agricultural statistics of, say, 1900-1930 to understand the very simple reason of revolution: total agricultural degradation beyound any margin you may imagine novadays.

    • Piling up together years 1900 to 1930 is like piling up numbers for let’s say population growth in Germany in 1920-1939 and 1939-1945.
      Agricultural production increased explosively in 1895-1917 and then decreased explosively 1918-1930.
      The last famine in Russia was in 1895, the next one is in 1918 when thousands of people died from famine, and in 1930s tens of millions of people died from famine, in what was no doubt largest artificially created by the government famine in history of mankind.

  8. These are great! But I’m curious; is that little girl giving Santa/Father Christmas a pack of cigarettes instead of milk and cookies?

    • It’s not Santa nor Farther Christmas, actually. Just some old guy. The ad says ‘Grandpa, you should only smoke this brand of cigarettes!”

  9. I miss comments from Miss India,where is that girl?She was not the only one putting down Russia but she got all of the negative feedback from it.

    • Miss India commented on a recent post that she will no longer spend her time writing negative comments about russia, she said shes just repeating herself and is going to do something more constructive.

  10. Foto #10 is real. Once upon a times Russia was #1 in manufacture of cigarette cannon. It was breakthrough teknology! Very modern for the times. But it was proven difficult to win war against enemy that had cannonball cannon. However, while being pulverized, soldier could enjoy nice refreshing smoke.

  11. When I look at old pictures and newspapers the long gone Russian Empire seems to me to have been a place of peace, order and development. Which it probably was not to the extent it seems (it was cursed by many at the time), but still it was much more orderly and nice place to be than anything that followed in Russia in the next nearly 100 years.

    It is funny to see names of places, which are in other countries now, like Grodno (Poland), Riga and Libav (Latvia).

    Also it is funny to see how many German names are on the advertisements, nearly every other. Which actually should be of no surprise, because former Livonia (which is now Latvia and Estonia), then were the most developed region of Russian Empire with ruling class of German nobility. Also St. Petersburg had high number of foreigners involved both in business and in managing the country.

  12. Oldies but goldies.
    Image 26 is in romanian and it saying: Rubber shoes from St. Petersburg with triangle trademark – the best in the world, of company russian-american indian rubber.
    Galosi (rom): rubber shoes
    Sosoni(rom): a kind of shoes with rubber and textile.

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  16. Russia’s old ads are not much but half of their tv commercials nowdays have beautiful women on them.I remember the one about the womans white dress blowing up like Marilyn Monroe.

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  19. Respectfully disagree because if the artistic style could be adapted to today’s media it would set a new standard.
    Clearly not EVERYTHING can be advertised in this manner, but these pictures are incredible pieces of art.
    Anyway, thanks for the breathtakingly beautiful contribution.

  20. Вашу мать!! Ну ведь не курил целых три месяца!!!

    Какого черта зашел сюда…!?

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  29. As a devoted Beer Bottle Collector that geometric tall bottle in some of the ads has really gotten my attention, is there any current brand that emulates such design?

  30. Definitely it is genuinely okay article and I like to understand these skills and also I am trying it and cheers for sharing such type of techniques please keep it sharing.

  31. Hi there, just wandered by. I have a Apple Bottom website. Lots of information out there. Looking for something else, but great site. Take care.

  32. These ads paint a rather bad impression about Russians, if you ask me. Cigarettes, vodkas…

    But they’re good. I must admit, the colors, the characters and everything. Very impressive!

  33. Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don?t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

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