fun

McDonald's McRendang, Proton Saga & 25 Other Old Ads That'll Take You Back In Time

Anyone still using a National rice cooker?

Cover image via Lowyat.NET & Vijaya Kumar Ganapathy/Pinterest

1. Bata

Long before Nike or Adidas existed, almost everyone grew up wearing Bata shoes.

If you ask around, it probably had a reputation as being the more "affordable" brand for shoes. Bata has come a long way since then and is steering away from its "Buy And Throw Away" impression.

Though some might have thought it originated in Malaysia, Bata was actually founded in the Czech Republic in 1894.

2. McDonald's McRendang

Image via Lowyat.NET

According to Asian Models of Entrepreneurship, Malaysia's McDonalds's once had a McRendang burger which was apparently a success.

An ad of it posted on Lowyat.NET's forum describes it: "It's a new taste. The taste of Malaysia. McDonald's all-beef patty, dressed with onions, and topped with a special rendang sauce."

Check out the price!

3. National rice cooker and iron

National was a brand under Panasonic selling home, personal, and industrial appliances.

If you're wondering why you rarely see the name around, the brand was eventually phased out in Asia in 2004 and most of the products were rebranded under Panasonic to unify the business and for better recognition.

Raise your hand if you recognise this rice cooker and iron!

Apparently my sister still has the iron to this day:

4. Sanyo refrigerator

Do you or anyone you know still have this Sanyo fridge at home? What a classic.

5. Proton Saga ad in the 90s

The first-generation Proton Saga, launched in 1985 was the first car produced by the Malaysian automobile manufacturer, Proton. And it is now widely credited as being the first Malaysian car.

Unlike back in the 90s, seeing one of these classic first-gen Sagas in Malaysia today is a rare sight!

6. Globe Silk Store

Globe Silk Store on Batu Road, KL was a popular department store in Malaysia, which sold uniforms, shoes, and textiles.

It used to see more than 20,000 visitors a day! In 2005, it closed down after its owners declared bankruptcy. However, the store was later reopened as Sarah Hughes @ Globe, which currently sells similar items. The ad above was for Hari Raya!

7. Esso

Esso and Mobil were the primary names of ExxonMobil, an American multinational oil and gas corporation. Esso opened its first service station in KL in 1921. 

If you're wondering what happened to Esso and its iconic tiger mascot, Petron Corporation acquired ExxonMobil's businesses in Malaysia and renamed them to Petron in 2012.

8. Klim milk powder

The vintage tin is being sold by a seller on Carousell.

Image via vintage.junkie/Carousell

Klim milk powder sold by Nestlé was apparently developed for the tropical weather, as ordinary milk would spoil easily. 

Early advertisements featured the slogan, "Spell it backward".

Two SAYS readers in their 60s recall seeing Klim being sold in stores when they were younger. The milk powder still exists today.

9. Singer sewing machine

It was always fascinating to watch my grandma and mum patch up clothes with one of these beauties.

There were just so many little drawers on the old Singer sewing machine to keep thread, needles, and other knick-knacks.

If you had one of these in the house growing up, you probably remember the sound the foot pedals made!

10. Guinness Stout ad in 1968

Here's one unlikely ad that truly shows how times have changed.

According to Cilisos, this old Guinness stout ad came from Kesatuan Guru-Guru Melayu Malaysia Barat (KGMMB)'s 1968 AGM booklet. And it apparently appeared right next to a note from then Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak.

11. Robinsons Department Store at Mountbatten Road (now Jalan Tun Perak), KL in 1957

An ad showing Robinsons back when it was on Mountbatten Road (now Jalan Tun Perak).

Image via Vijaya Kumar Ganapathy/Pinterest

Robinsons & Co has department stores both in Singapore and KL. It opened its first store in Malaysia on Jalan Tun Perak, KL in 1928, and sold lifestyle and fashion products. 

It eventually reopened its store in The Gardens Mall, which we can visit today.

Based on the ad, notice how much the English language has evolved too!

12. Chap Junjong or Milkmaid condensed milk ad in 1950s

When Nestlé first started out in Penang in 1912, it only sold one product which was the Milkmaid brand condensed milk, more popularly known back then as 'Susu Chap Junjung'.

From that one product, they eventually progressed into manufacturing more brands, which we know and love today - Nescafé, Milo, Maggi, KitKat, and many others.

13. Yaohan ad in 1990

Image via Lowyat.NET

The first Yaohan store in Malaysia was opened in 1987 in The Mall, now known as Sunway Putra Mall in KL.

Yaohan department store offered a wide range of products from furniture to food, clothes, and accessories. This ad was published towards the end of 1989 before they welcomed the new year.

In 2004, all former stores were eventually acquired and changed to Parkson.

14. F&N Red Lion drink (Orange Crush)

F&N roped in Malay actress Maria Menado for one of its advertisements in the 1950s.

Image via New Straits Times

A 1960s advertisement on F&N's Red Lion drinks.

Image via New Straits Times

According to an article by New Straits Times, Fraser & Neave (F&N) released its Red Lion drink in 1954, which was non-carbonated and made from real fruit juice for health-conscious consumers.

What used to be one of its many signature drinks back then has now evolved into today's version - F&N Orange Crush or F&N Outrageous Orange.

15. KL Airport (Sungei Besi) restaurant ad in 1963

Such a simple ad which perfectly depicts how this airport restaurant used to look like back then. Look at those chairs!

16. Mazda 323

It's funny to think that cars we grew up with are now considered classics. I still remember my dad's trusty blue secondhand Datsun that could fit all five of us.

Let me know which classic car you or your parents drove!

17. Malayan Airways and Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA)

Malayan Airways Limited flew its first commercial flight in 1947. When the Federation of Malaysia formed in 1963, it was renamed Malaysian Airways.

Three years later, Singapore separated and it was renamed Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA).

In 1972, it split into two separate national airlines, which we now know of today as Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines.

18. Harimau detergent

Check out this old magazine print ad of powder detergent - complete with polo tees suited to its time!

19. Eveready battery

Two popular battery brands you've definitely seen are Energizer and Eveready - both of which are owned by Energizer Holdings, an American manufacturer of electric battery brands.

An inventor named David Misell first designed an "electric device", which was powered by "D" batteries that were laid back to front in a paper tube with a lightbulb at the end. He is credited in the US as making the first-ever torchlight in 1896.

Misell assigned his invention to Conrad Hubert, the man behind The American Ever Ready Company, which sold batteries and flashlights. The name was eventually shortened to Everready.

20. Cadbury's chocolate ad in the 1960s

This newspaper clipping shows a Cadbury's milk chocolate ad. If you look closely, you'll notice that Sime Darby was listed as its distributor back then.

21. BOH Tea

When you think of Cameron Highlands, you might immediately think of tea.

BOH Plantations is the largest black tea manufacturer in Malaysia and the largest tea plantation in Southeast Asia.

It was founded in 1929 by British businessman J A Russell during the British colonial era in Malaya. 

22. Morris Minor

Many of our grandparents or maybe even parents will remember Morris Minors that were commonly seen vehicles on the roads during the British rule.

They're now extremely rare to find in Malaysia and it's a gem if you do spot one!

23. KitKat

A KitKat ad in the 1950s came complete with a description and statement, "The biggest little meal in Malaya".

Fun fact: KitKat was created in 1935 and was first called Rowntree's Chocolate Crisp before it was renamed to KitKat Chocolate Crisp two years later.

According to Atlas Repro Paperwork, KitKat had to swap from milk chocolate to dark chocolate due to milk shortage during World War II. To signify the change, the red and white packaging was also swapped to a blue wrapper for five years.

24. Malaysia Hotel

It's interesting to see what some of the perks of a hotel stay used to be! This Malaysia Hotel ad offered shoe-cleaning services and the local newspaper.

25. Ricoh Camera 1960s

Sometimes it's easy to forget how we used to have to take photos with actual film and wait for days for it to develop at a camera shop just to see the photo.

Any 80s and 90s kids remember how we couldn't expose the negatives to any light otherwise it'll destroy it?

26. Tiger beer

Tiger beer was first created by Malayan Breweries Limited in Singapore back in 1932 and was distributed all over the country on the Malayan Railway.

In 1962, Malayan Railway was formally translated to BM giving it its current name - Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM).

27. Maxim Cafe ad in 1955

If you look closely at the details on this ad, it'll show you how names and prices have changed through the years.

For example in this ad, Jalan Hang Kasturi was once called Jalan Rodger in KL. And a "quick lunch" would cost $1.20 per person.

Walk down memory lane and check out more photos of how Malaysia has changed through the decades:

Do you remember visiting any of these places when you were younger?

You may be interested in:

Leave a comment