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What first caught my eye about this 1958 Life magazine ad for 7 UP in Life magazine were the ballerina flats and skinny capris. A woman might feel right at home in either of these today. But she might feel a tad less comfortable with some of the values of the 1950s—and I mean no disrespect to the good parts of this era.

This 7UP campaign was likely part of the “You like it, it likes you”  7UP era. I first heard that phrase from my husband’s great uncle, a retired 7UP route salesman who used to recite it as part of a long, jaunty shtick that must have been required memorization back in the day. In his 90s, he could not remember what he had for breakfast, but he could still recite this sing-songy poem with a twinkle in his eye.

After every recitation, I would always wonder about the meaning of “You like it, it likes you.” What? So, it won’t give you gas? It won’t keep you awake at night? It won’t make your face break out? Nope, that wasn’t it at all, I discovered after a little research.

If you’re a product of this generation, it’s probably hard to wrap your mind around this, but in the 1950s, advertisers dictated socially acceptable behavior. Unlike today, when our values and tastes drive media and branding messages, successful brands were part of a big ‘ole machine called the establishment. The establishment pretty much told society how to behave.

In shorthand, the meaning of the campaign was: “Do things our way and people will like you. You’ll be respected, not rejected. We know what’s best for you.” It was an “everybody’s doing it” kind of culture. Remember, that’s what people were rebelling against in the 60s and 70s.

So you can love those 1950s garments with all your heart. But be glad that you don’t have to play everything by the 1950s rulebook. Check out this old video that tells the 7UP story.

What would you have most liked about the 1950s? Who is your favorite Hollywood star from that era? They had ’em back then!

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.