Smile and Say “Sleaze”: Sex Sells in Vintage Camera Advertising

In decades past, cameras were sold almost exclusively to men.  As might predict, this is fertile ground for the “sex sells” approach.  Just picture hordes of single men with disposable income, all fashioning themselves Playboy photographers – they’d pay any price for a camera or video recorder.  Let’s have a look at the many interesting ways camera companies “sold the sizzle” to men in the 1960s-1980s.

56_camera ad

“Our camera, the Nikkormat FTN, is being used as a ploy.  As bait.  Urbane young gentlemen, aware that etchings are passe, are inviting innocent young ladies up to see their photographs.  We didn’t design the Nikkormat for such nefarious purposes…. But these fellows, as long on savvy as they are short on conscience, are well aware of the air of savoir faire a fine camera confers upon them….”

1967 camera ad



The Miranda Automex ad tells us that any man holding their camera will be “the subject of envious glances, whispered curiosity”.

54_soligor camera

“Use it to zoom in”… zoom in on what, you ask?  I think it’s pretty clear.

55_soligor camera

Publicité Advertising 1970 Appareil Photo Yashica

1964 camera advertisement

pentacon lenses advert

1969 camera ads

1968Vivitar ad

This 1968 Vivitar ad doesn’t play it subtle at all

olympus camera ad


akai video camera ad

“And here’s a great offer.  Every buyer of an AKAI VTR will receive a personal invitation from one of the provocative Penthouse Pets to attend a video taping session – with her – in a city near them.  Sound exciting? You bet it is.”

1965 camera ad

minolta camera ad

With Minolta cameras, you can be sure to perfectly capture all your upskirts, nip slips and other female clothing malfunctions.

May 1970-4

In a similar vein, Bauer’s definition of “great moments” means creepily filming a scared bikini-clad girl from below.

1965 camera advert

vintage camera ads

vintage video camera ad

I came upon this advertisement a long time ago, and it has stuck with me.  When it comes to sleazy, wildly inappropriate advertising, you can’t get much worse than this.  At first glance, this home movie projector ad seems to be custom-made for snuff films.

1963 camera ad

27_vivitar-time 1967

1965 viscount viewer ad

1965 practical photography

An opportunity posted in a 1965 issue of Practical Photography to product test a camera… and presumably snap pictures of pretty girls in bathing suits.

minolta camera advert vintage

August 1970-3

mamiva 1973


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