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11 Advertising Slogans That Became Catch-Phrases

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Back in the days when there were only three TV channels to choose from and no way to fast-forward through the commercials, advertising slogans stuck with us and were regularly repeated in daily conversation (just like those mad men on Madison Avenue hoped). Today’s rapid-fire special effects-laden spots don’t seem to have the memorability factor of yesteryear’s Clio winners. See how many of these phrases you’ve uttered yourself, even when you no longer remembered the context or product.

1. Try It! You’ll Like It!

This 1971 Alka-Seltzer was one of the first created by the then-new Wells, Rich, Greene advertising agency. The tag phrase soon took on a life of its own (how many mothers used it to convince their picky eaters to eat their broccoli?) and helped to get the commercial elected to the Clio Awards Classic Hall of Fame.

2. I Can’t Believe I Ate The Whole Thing

A year after their “Try it, you’ll like it” triumph, Wells, Rich, Greene came up with another memorable phrase to promote Alka-Seltzer: “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” The line, moaned in the TV spot by poor, miserable Ralph to his sleepy wife, came to copywriter Howie Cohen after overindulging at a dinner party.

3. Ancient Chinese Secret

Many folks remember the tag line but not the product from this long-running ad that debuted in 1972. The “secret” being hawked was Calgon, a water softening powder that allegedly helped get laundry 30 percent whiter when added to your regular detergent.

4. Calgon, Take Me Away!

Softer bath water apparently was the key to washing away the daily stress of traffic, screaming kids, barking dogs, and cranky husbands. The original Calgon bath powder was just a slightly different version of the softening agent sold for laundry use (the product name is a portmanteau of Calcium Gone), but later the line was expanded to include foaming milk baths and scented salts.

5. You’re Soaking In It

“Dishpan hands” were the bane of every homemaker’s life before automatic dishwashers became standard kitchen equipment (according to the 2010 Census, 65 percent of American kitchens were equipped with a dishwasher). Rubber gloves provide a solid protective barrier between hot water, detergent, and human flesh, but apparently that was just too utilitarian a solution for the manufacturers of dishwashing liquid. Many brands, such as Vel and Ivory Liquid, boasted that their lack of “harsh chemicals” was gentler on hands than other soaps, but Palmolive took it a step further and positioned their dish soap on the same level as pricey moisturizers. Take it from Madge, the all-knowing manicurist: That pretty green stuff softens your hands while you scrub pots and pans.

6. Don’t Leave Home Without It

This catchy phrase was coined in 1975 by the Ogilvy and Mather agency as “Don’t leave home without them.” “Them,” in this case, referred to American Express Traveler’s Checks, and the somber warning was delivered by actor Karl Malden, who was co-starring as a hard-boiled homicide detective on The Streets of San Francisco at the time. Eventually American Express altered the phrase to promote their credit card (using the successful “Do you know me?” campaign).

7. It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature

Stuffing or potatoes? Tastes great/less filling? When it comes to culinary feuds, one of the longest-running and still enduring has to be butter versus margarine. Today, the argument mainly breaks down into a nutritional trans-fat, polyunsaturated technical-type debate. But back in the early 1970s, consumers cared more that their margarine-of-choice tasted like the butter it was 33 percent less expensive than.

8. How Do You Spell Relief?

This tag line was a gold mine for stand-up comedians of the era, who spelled relief from L-I-Q-U-O-R to things we can’t mention here. However, the “relief” sought in this case was for acid indigestion, and Rolaids was the remedy. The minty antacids lost a lot of market share after H2 blockers (such as Pepcid AC) began selling over the counter, so the company recently resurrected their catchiest slogan in a series of commercials featuring Food Network chef Guy Fieri.

9. Does She or Doesn’t She?

This somewhat titillating tease was used for years to sell Miss Clairol hair coloring. (The answer, by the way, was “Only her hairdresser knows for sure.”) It was preferable that laymen (and catty girlfriends) could not tell at a glance that you were touching up the ol’ grey a bit via artificial means.

10. Where’s The Beef?

Retired manicurist-turned-character actress Clara Peller was hard of hearing, which is why she happened to bellow her famous line like a foghorn. A year after filming her first Wendy’s commercial, Peller filmed an ad for Prego pasta sauce, wherein she announced she’d “finally found it” (i.e. the beef). The hamburger chain terminated her contract, leaving Peller (who apparently didn’t thoroughly understand the “non compete” clause she’d signed) to gripe, “I’ve made them millions, and they don’t appreciate me.”

11. Often a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride

The phrase that has entered the lexicon to describe someone who is a perpetual also-ran was actually coined back in 1925 to sell Listerine Mouthwash. There’s an important lesson here: Having camel breath might prevent you from landing a husband, but it won’t prevent your newly-engaged friends from asking you to spend hundreds of dollars on a pink polyester puffy-sleeved dress you’ll only wear once.

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The Secret Ingredient That Makes LaCroix Water So Irresistible
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The distinctive Technicolor cans of LaCroix sparkling water are an increasingly popular sight in stores and on kitchen tables around the country. (If you're old enough to remember the Snapple phenomenon of the 1990s, this is like that—just bubbly.) But as The Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, few of the beverage's loyal fans have any idea what it is they're drinking.

LaCroix comes in a variety of flavors, from tangerine to coconut. The can label, however, is cryptic, listing "natural flavors" as part of the ingredients. Their website discloses only that "natural essence oils" are involved, which sounds like LaCroix should be applied to your hair and then rinsed off.

A look at the nutritional information for LaCroix water
LaCroix

As it turns out, that's not too far off. According to The Wall Street Journal, these "essences" are naturally produced chemicals that are manufactured by heating up fruit or vegetable remnants until they make a vapor, then condensing them into a clear concentrate. They're used in a variety of consumer products, from shampoos to ice pops.

LaCroix was unwilling to confirm the Journal's claim, protecting their manufacturing process in a manner similar to Coca-Cola's famously secretive treatment of their recipe. They do state that no sugars are added, but that may not be enough to protect your teeth: Carbonated water and citric acids can combine to create a lower pH, which has a detrimental effect on tooth enamel. Like most everything that tastes good, these flavored waters are best enjoyed in moderation.

[h/t The Wall Street Journal]

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13 Salty Facts About Mr. Peanut
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In 2016, the dapper little legume known as Mr. Peanut celebrated his 100th year of peddling Planters peanuts, putting him on the Mount Rushmore of food mascots. As the literal face of America's peanut industry, we’ve assembled some facts and history about this shell of a man in honor of National Peanut Day (which is today, September 13).

1. HE WAS CREATED BY A 14-YEAR-OLD.

Mr. Peanut wasn’t hatched from a cynical ad firm brainstorming session. His adorable visage was the product of a 14-year-old from Suffolk, Virginia named Antonio Gentile. Gentile entered a contest held by the Planters Chocolate and Nut Company in 1916 to crown a new peanut mascot. The aspiring Don Draper sketched out a doodle of a “Mr. P. Nut” strutting with a cane. After getting freshened up by a graphic designer—including donning his trademark spats and monocle—Gentile’s design was picked up and he was awarded $5.

(Postscript: The Gentile family became friendly with the Obici family, owners of the Planters empire, and Gentile’s nephews once suggested that the Obicis helped put him through medical school; he became a surgeon.)

2. HE HAS A FULL NAME.

According to Planters, Mr. Peanut is something of an informal moniker. The full name given to him by Gentile was Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe.

3. HE ONCE WEIGHED OVER 300 POUNDS.

Although peanuts can be a highly sensible snack, full of healthy fats and protein, they can also be a source of too many calories. Case in point: the 300-pound cast iron Mr. Peanut, a display item made in the 1920s and 1930s. Planters would use the heavyset mascot on top of a fence post at their Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania factory.

4. HE SURVIVED THE GREAT DEPRESSION.

During the economic downturn of the 1930s, things like “snacks” and “nutrition” suddenly became optional rather than expected. Though many food products struggled to cope with slimmed-down wallets, Planters plastered Mr. Peanut on bags of peanuts that sold for just five cents each. Declaring it a “nickel lunch,” the company was able to use the affordability of peanuts as a selling point.

5. HE WENT TO WAR.

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Specifically, World War II. When the U.S. entered the conflict, Mr. Peanut volunteered for service as a character featured on stamps and propaganda posters.

6. HE’S A MONOCLE ENTHUSIAST.

Food mascots rarely take sides on hot-button issues, but Mr. Peanut made an exception in 2014 when a fashion movement threatened the return of the monocle. After getting wind of men wearing the single-lens reading accessory, Mr. P issued a press release stating that he took notice of the “hipsters” following in his “stylish footsteps” and implied few could pull it off. The monocle has yet to fully re-emerge.

7. THE NUTMOBILE PREDATES THE WIENERMOBILE.

Planters

Though the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile usually takes most of the engine-driven PR credit, Planters actually introduced the NUTMobile, a shell-shaped portable advertising car, in 1935—a year prior to the Wienermobile’s introduction. A Planters salesman designed and drove the car, adding a decorative Mr. Peanut passenger behind him. (Mr. Peanut did not operate the vehicle because Mr. Peanut is not real.)

8. HE’S IN THE SMITHSONIAN.

How influential has Mr. Peanut been to the food industry? In 2013, the Smithsonian admitted his cast-iron incarnation into its National Museum of American History. The statue was exhibited as part of a series on marketing for the institution’s American Enterprise series; Antonio Gentile’s family also donated his original sketches for posterity.

9. FANS DIDN’T WANT HIM TO CHANGE.

Planters

For the company's 100th anniversary in 2006, Planters held an online vote to see whether peanut aficionados wanted to see Mr. Peanut experiment with a sartorial change: Fans could vote for adding cufflinks, a bow tie, or a pocket watch. In the end, the ballot determined they wanted to keep him just the way he is.

10. HE HAS A FAN CLUB.

Mr. Peanut has appeared in so many different licensed products in an effort to expand his popularity—clocks, peanut butter grinders, and coloring books among them—that a collector was having trouble keeping track of them all. In 1978, Judith Walthall founded Peanut Pals, a Mr. Peanut appreciation club that circulates a newsletter and holds conventions. You can join for $20—practically peanuts.

11. HE HAS REMAINED MOSTLY SILENT.

mazmedia via YouTube

Mr. Peanut was already a few decades old when television came into prominence, which afforded him an opportunity to jump off packaging and magazine pages. Despite the new medium, Planters decided they liked him best when he didn’t talk—at all. The mascot was silent all the way up until 2010, when Robert Downey Jr. was commissioned to deliver his first lines. Bill Hader currently provides his voice.

12. HE FOUND A BUDDY.

When Planters unveiled an updated Mr. Peanut for contemporary audiences in 2010, he was sporting a grey flannel suit as well as a new sidekick—Benson, a shorter, single-peanut tagalong. A Planters spokesman clarified to The New York Times that the two are “just friends” and live in separate residences.

13. HE ONCE RAN FOR MAYOR OF VANCOUVER.

Amid a burgeoning alternative art scene in 1970s Vancouver, a performance artist named Vincent Trasov decided it would be interesting to run for mayor of the city while in the guise of Mr. Peanut. Hailing from the “Peanut Party” and meant to be a commentary of the Nixon-era absurdities of politics, he was endorsed by novelist William S. Burroughs and received 2685 ballots—3.4 percent of the vote.

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