We’ve had a lot of time on our hands lately here at CFD so we thought it might be a good time to reach back into the archives and take a look at how the diving lifestyle was sold during the 70’s. This will be our first foray into a long look back into what the dive industry thought motivated divers 50 years ago. It was a wild time to be a diver and to be in the dive business as well. Think “Mad Men” in wet suits with less martinis and more Schlitz. Classy with marketing to match. So sit back and enjoy as we take a wacky ride on the wayback machine of diving.
First up is the Aqua-Craft slurp gun. It’s the featured item in this 1970 ad. For those of you that have never seen a slurp gun, it’s an aquarium collection device that litterally “slurps” up water and the fish with it. It was very popular with home aqaurists/divers before people realized taking all the animals off the reef might have a detrimental effect on them. Who knew right? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess they are primarily selling to male-heavy demographic here btw. They sell the device like they were advertising a James Bond movie. While most of the divers, aquarists, and scientists I know these days are attractive people(both inside and out), none of them look like they just walked out of the water in Dr. No. And thankfully, none of them dive in a 2-piece white bikini. I’m looking at you Jean-Michelle Cousteau.
That is a pretty bold ad when you think about. It probably would be pretty hard to beat for a more over-the-top ad wouldn’t it? Well hold my beer….
I’ll see your Swedish-bikini slurp gun ad and raise you a bang stick! Yes a bang stick, those guns on a spear used for killing large and dangerous fish in an up-close and messy way. Nothing goes with sexy models like a .44 magnum powerhead. The good people at Bayfront took this bold approach in 1971 to sell their full line of folding bang sticks(how utilitarian). The poor grammar of the ad aside, my initial response to this makes me think you should probably be able to “See at your local Pac-Sun shop” as well. That would be super convenient actually. “Mix and match tops and bottoms with your choice of either .44 magnum or 12 guage barrels. And ammunition and sunscreen are always free.” I can see it now. Actually I can’t but somebody thought this would work. It didn’t btw. They went out of business a long time ago. I can’t say this was the cause but why not.
I hope you enjoyed the start of our little journey together. We’ve only just started to look back at what was really the golden age of diving. We’ll get back to our other regular work as well, talking about California. We hope you and yours are good in these odd times. Stay safe and we’ll see you out there.