The term “brand name” originated with whiskey producers who “branded” their names on the barrels.


• The 1930s were host to a barrage of “sandwich signs”---walking billboards worn on the front and back of the human body---announcing the Blue Plate Special at Joe’s or praising the benefits of mustard plasters

• Ferrari launched the Daytona sports car in 1971, boasting its “aerodynamic design” that enabled the vehicle to reach a top speed of 170 miles per hour.

• German immigrant Gerhard Mennen introduced his first product, Mennen’s Sure Corn Killer, in 1878. His method of advertising constituted a horse and wagon and a banjo player that travelled from one town to the next. The banjo player provided entertainment which was periodically interrupted by Mennen plugging his product. Mennen’s Borated Talcum Infant Powder hit the shelves in 1889, with Gerhard pouring $0.50 of every dollar earned back into advertising. Gerhard Mennen died while on a European family vacation at the age of 45.

• A certain real estate firm was advertising a property development in Los Angeles in 1922. They placed 45-foot-high letters on a hill above the city, spelling HOLLYWOODLAND---a landmark that remains today, minus the land.

• Although we think of Maxwell House Coffee when we hear the slogan “good to the last drop,” this phrase was originally used by Coca-Cola.

• The initials S.O.S., used for America’s favorite steel wool pads, have nothing to do with a call for help. An abbreviation for “Save Our Saucepans,” S.O.S. pads were first given away as a free gift by a door-to-door salesman selling aluminum cookware in 1917. Edwin Cox received more requests for the scouring pads than he did for the pans. It was Mrs. Coz who came up with the catchy name for this commodity.

• “You press the button---we do the rest” was the company’s slogan, first used in 1888. What product was it? It was a Kodak camera! When Kodak introduced its Brownie camera in 1900, the price was $1.

• Introducing! …Blibber-Blubber! What in the world is Blibber-Blubber? In 1906, it was a product marketed by the Fleer Corporation---bubble gum! However, because it was a little too sticky, the formula was changed, and in the 1920s, so was the name…to Dubble Bubble.

• Touted as and “Esteemed Brain Tonic and Intellectual Beverage,” Coca-Cola hit the world of advertising in 1886. When pharmacist Asa Candler bought the formula for the beverage from pharmacist John Pemberton in 1887, he paid $2,300. When Candler’s sons sold out 29 years later, they received $25 million for that same formula.

• The Maybelline Company introduced its cake mascara in 1917 with magazine advertisements. This cosmetic was available only through the mail until 1932 when it was finally offered for sale in variety stores.

• Any fisherman could purchase a quality, ash fishing rod, 10 feet long with three joints and brass mounting, for $0.18 from the 1900 Sears and Roebuck catalog. The top-of-the-line bamboo rod, 15 feet long with four joints, would set him back $1.50. • Ladies perusing the 1900 Sears catalog could find $0.69 flannel nightgowns, $0.98 corsets, and a pheasant feather-trimmed bonnet for $3.95.


•  England’s first printer, William Caxton, created the world’s first printed advertisement in 1478. The ad promoted religious books that Caxton printed in his own print shop.

• The first neon sign was put in place in Paris, France, in 1912, advertising Cinzano.

• The Kellogg cereal company, presented Rice Krispies in 1929 with the “Snap, Crackle, and Pop” slogan. In 1942, the company jazzed up its Corn Flakes for the first time, introducing Sugar Frosted Flakes, using Tony the Tiger as its advertising “spokesman.”

• Kodak’s first instamatic camera hit the market in 1968, touting its easy-to-use, drop-in film cartridge and two exposure settings, sunny and cloudy.

• The first electric billboard was seen in 1891 over New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Advertising a local amusement park, this 50-by-80-foot sign boasted 1,457 twinkling lamps.

• That big, bald guy dressed in all white, known as Mr. Clean, made his first grime-fighting appearance in 1958.

• Elvis Presley promoted only one product in a television commercial in all his years as a celebrity. It was the donuts made by Southern Made Donuts.

•  Eleanor Roosevelt endorsed Good Luck magazine on the game show “Haggis Baggis” in 1959.

• Alka-Seltzer started using the little spokesman “Speedy” in 1931 to advertise its fizzy antidote for hangovers and queasy stomachs. Speedy, with his Alka-Seltzer tablet body, was going to be named “Sparky,” but the company made a last-minute change. He appeared in 212 television commercials, beginning in 1952. In Spanish–speaking countries, Speedy was also known as “Prontito.”


• Although Wheaties were introduced in 1924, this product did not become the “Breakfast of Champions” until 1933 when the company sponsored a baseball radio broadcast, followed by a billboard at a Minneapolis ball park.

• Babe Ruth was one of the first athletes to endorse Wheaties, yet his picture did not appear on the box until 1992 when a commemorative package was unveiled.

• Lou Gehrig was the first athlete to appear on a Wheaties box in 1934.

• Michael Jordan’s face has appeared on the package 18 times, followed by Tiger Woods appearing 14 times.

• Mary Lou Retton was the first female athlete   to appear on the box in 1984 after winning an Olympic gold medal in Los Angeles.

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