Great advertising slogans

Published 6:51 pm Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I was reading a newspaper online the other day and a very, very famous company with a red background and white, scripted letters (Coca-Cola) had an advertisement for its soft drink. Underneath the iconic and scripted name was the newest slogan. It said “Coca-Cola: Live Positively.”

Coca-Cola spends almost $3 billion each year on worldwide marketing and their latest attempt to move me to a purchase of their product fell absolutely and positively as flat as a Coca-Cola that had been left out and opened for two days. “Live Positively?” Is that the best $3 billion can do?

I don’t know who is sitting around thinking up cool sayings for Coca-Cola, but they ought to find that guy or gal who thought of “It’s the Real Thing.” Or better yet, go and find that person who wrote that great song, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.” Those were some good slogans!

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Here in Bainbridge, Coca-Cola is popular just as it is around the world, but, due to the diligence and personality of the late, great Max Langston, another soft drink and advertising slogan was just as popular. The “Pepsi Generation” was heard from loud and proud in our fair city.

I got to thinking about many of the advertising slogans and catch phrases that were etched within this mind of mine. I got a little help from the Internet, but most of these I remembered simply by thinking.

When I was a young boy, just past the years of flattops and Butch Wax, I used a product called Brylcreem. It didn’t take too much, just a “little dab’ll do ya,” as the slogan said.

I never was a smoker, but I knew many people who would walk a mile for a Camel. Then there were those smokers who would rather fight than switch. I would guess that not many people remember the name of the brand of cigarettes that used the “fight than switch” slogan.

Cigarette advertisements on television were banned beginning Jan. 2, 1971. The last cigarette advertisement on TV was aired just before midnight on Jan. 1, 1971, on the Johnny Carson show. It featured actress Veronica Hamel in an ad for Virginia Slims, which had been introduced in 1968 with that popular slogan “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

Fast food came of age in the 1960s and ’70s and, along with it, brought us many of the most famous advertising slogans. What company offers “finger-lickin’ good” chicken? The same one that dressed up its originator in the guise of an old, southern gentleman and called him Colonel Sanders. Sanders was his actual, real last name. Anyone know his first?

And how about that phrase, “you deserve a break today?” Mickey D’s, of course. Burger King countered with “Have it your way,” but Wendy’s is the winner of the most memorable advertising slogan for hamburger joints with its famous “Where’s the beef?’ question.

That reminds me of the day I was actually working at Lewis Drug Company in Pelham. I was working at the lunch counter and served a hamburger plate to the back booth. The customer called me back and asked me if I had forgotten anything and I could not imagine what he was talking about. He opened up his hamburger and might have asked for the first time, “Where’s the beef?”

Companies build their television advertisements around characters. Some hit it big and some don’t. Those that don’t, I can’t say, because, well, they are forgotten. But some of those who hit it big, really hit it big!

If I wrote the name Dick Wilson, some of you might remember his recurring role in the sit-com Bewitched, but I doubt it. However, if I tell you that he was Mr. Whipple and was always admonishing the public “Don’t squeeze the Charmin,” you’d remember him.

Lucky Dick Wilson. Not for Bewitched, but for the Charmin, which enabled him to work 12 days a year and earn $300,000 for those silly looks as he, himself, squeezed the Charmin.

Same thing happened to Jessie White. After a pretty long career as a Broadway actor and many roles in television dramas and comedies, he was spotted by an advertising fellow and offered the job of the “loneliest guy in town,” the Maytag repairman. Now we know Jessie White.

John Cameron Swayze? The smartest of ya’ll might know him as the sixth cousin removed (whatever that might mean) of the late actor Patrick Swayze or the first NBC news anchor way back in 1949, but just about everyone who reads this will remember him as the guy who was always trying to destroy a Timex watch, but it “took a licking, but kept on ticking.”

There is no way to mention all of the great advertising phrases or slogans that I simply remember, without any prompting. One leads to another. It’s like the Energizer Bunny, they just keep on coming. It’s like Lay’s potato chips, “Betcha can’t eat (think of) one.”

Like a good neighbor, they’re always there. They’re good to the last drop. I can’t leave home without them. They’re gr-r-r-r-eat! I can’t decide whether they taste great or are less filling. When it rains, it pours.

I might as well stop and get some relief. By the way, how do you spell relief? R-O-L-A-I-D-S! Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief that was. I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.

I really am going to quit now. Gotta go brush my teeth. Look Ma, No cavities!