Gallery of Chiropractic Ads and Other Promotional Materials

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
July 28, 2020

This gallery illustrates how chiropractors promoted themselves before the development of the Internet. I collected most of the newspaper ads from local papers, but some were mailed to me from other areas. Where many ads were placed by an individual chiropractor, I have grouped them into individual files. Before 1980, nearly all of the marketers promoted subluxation-based philosophy and suggested that chiropractic’s scope was unlimited. After that time, these ideas persisted but gradually became less prominent.

A 13-city study published in a chiropractic journal found that of 5,456 chiropractors listed in the yellow pages during 1985 and 1986, 14.7% bought additional space in the regular listing section, 11.6% purchased large display advertisements, and 73.7% listed only their name and phone number. Of those who bought additional space, 10.8% advertised techniques, 11.6% mentioned symptoms, 14.7% mentioned injuries, 3% mentioned professional affiliations, and 4% offered free services. Since the late 1970s, I have collected more than 1,100 yellow-page display ads but have not done a statistical analysis.

In 1987, the American Chiropractic Association noted that advertising claims had been “getting worse and worse” and urged chiropractors to “stop the garbage yellow page ads” that contained coupons, offered free spinal x-rays, promised that there would no out-of pocket expense, or made exaggerated and unprofessional claims.

Inclusion in this gallery should not be interpreted as an assertion that all of the items were misleading. Most were, but some were not. My intention in posting them is simply to illustrate what I happened to collect. To place the items in perspective, please see the commentary articles listed below and other Chirobase pages that discuss the types of promotional claims that were used.

Early Promotional Materials
Pennsylvania Ads and Fliers from the Late 1960s and Early 1970s
Newspaper Ads and Mailers from the Mid-1970s through the Mid-1990s
Turn on health” bumper sticker from the 1980s
Yellow Page Ads
Other Promotional Materials
American Chiropractic Association Public Relations Materials
Internet Claims
Other Noteworthy Ads
Advertising Regulation