The use of fear to sell things has always been around. Sellers are always toying with the psyche of their buyers. This ad, from 1933, just seems to ramp it up. Maybe it's just me, but this looks like a photo you'd expect to see on an old film noir movie poster. This fellow has more than a sore throat to worry about. This fellow is about to die. I don't know who killed him, but it wasn't germs.
Click on the image to see it larger.