Found in Mom’s Basement posted this vintage toilet paper ad that plays on the stereotype that Scots were cheap:


From the post:

Although the stereotype of the cheap Scotsman isn’t as widely known in the US today, going back a few decades it was an ethnic stereotype that was used freely, often making the Scots the butt of jokes.

The post has links to other examples, such as the Studebaker Scotsman, a low-cost, minimal-options car:


As a commenter to that post pointed out, Safeway’s store brand, advertised as being inexpensive, was Scotch Buy (found at Cigarettespedia):


For a current example, we have McFrugal, a hardware site:


What’s interesting is how ethnic stereotypes can lose their power. Maybe I’m just oblivious, but until about a year ago, I’d never heard of the stereotype that Scots were cheap, though it used to be a very common, widely-recognized notion. Without that context, the associations the ads are attempting to make would be meaningless to me–I would have just thought it was odd that mcfrugal had a guy with bagpipes, but not understood that it might have any meaning. When I asked students in my race class about this, only a couple had ever heard this stereotype. Much like the Irish and other European ethnic groups, as Scots became part of the larger “White” racial category, ethnic distinctiveness and stereotypes have become less prominent.

For another example of stereotypes of European ethnic groups, see our post on images of the Irish. We also have some old anti-Chinese posters.

UPDATE: Commenter Julia provided a link to this  Scotch Tape ad, with the mascot Scotty McTape:


Julia adds,

According to the 3M website, the tape was called that because it originally had adhesive only on the edges of the tape.  Auto painters told a 3M salesman to go back to his “Scotch bosses” (presumably too cheap to put adhesive all over the tape) and make it stickier.

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