Category:
Business

Colgate Kitchen Entrees

One of the classic brand-extension blunders of all time has to be when toothpaste-maker Colgate decided to come out with a line of frozen dinners. The story is told in many places, and it's usually described as having occurred in 1982. For instance, here's the HuffPost's take on it:

We suppose the idea behind Colgate Kitchen Entrees was the fact that you’d eat the Colgate frozen dinner and then brush your teeth with Colgate toothpaste, but this one just simply didn’t work. The frozen food market was already pretty saturated when these dinners were released in 1982, and when people think of Colgate they tend to think of clean teeth, not frozen Swedish meatballs.

Lots of other sites refer to this as having happened in 1982, such as here, here, and here. But when I took a closer look at the story I couldn't find any primary sources from 1982 about it. But there are several 1960s-era sources (Washington Food Report, Weekly Digest) that refer to Colgate having test-marketed a line of frozen dinners in Madison, Wisconsin in 1964. A 1966 article in Television Age magazine offered some insight into what inspired the company to do this:

To enlarge its business, now dependent almost entirely on soaps and toiletries against the P&G and Lever competition, Colgate has long wanted to get into the $4.2-billion convenience food field. Its efforts here have been fruitless. A line of dried chicken and crabmeat entrees under a Colgate Kitchen label was introduced and quickly withdrawn. An apple-chip called Snapples has been tested off-and-on over a two-year period, and one or two other food items are in various stages. The company has specialty foods operations in France and Italy, but evidently is finding it hard to duplicate their success here.

So, unless someone can find some primary sources that indicate otherwise, I'm going to assume that the Colgate Kitchen debacle actually happened in 1964, not 1982. And it was only a test-marketing trial run, not a full product roll-out. It would definitely be bizarre if, after the 1964 failure, Colgate tried the same thing again in 1982.

There's a couple of images of Colgate Kitchen entrees floating around the Internet, but I think they're all photoshops or mock-ups. For instance, the one below is a recent mock-up created by the Museum of Failure in Sweden.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jul 08, 2019 - Comments (9)
Category: Business, Products, 1960s

Follies of the Madmen #432

Posted By: Paul - Sat Jul 06, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Anthropomorphism, Business, Advertising, Fashion, 1930s

Follies of the Madmen #431



Has this fellow decided to masochistically shame himself by creating this pitchfork doppelganger? Or did the local bad boys construct it and leave it on his lawn, and he is now gazing at it ruefully, realizing the veracity of their taunt? Or thinking, "There, but for the grace of Vitalis, go I."


Source.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Jul 03, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Business, Advertising, 1950s, Hair and Hairstyling

Baby Naming Service

For nominatively challenged parents, a new company offers help. Future Perfect charges $350 for a personalized list of 10 possible first and middle names for a newborn. For $225, you'll get a list of first names only, while for $100 they'll provide “a namestorming session like no other.” And for a mere $75, they’ll also help you name your pet.

Add this to my list of things I'd be willing to do for less money.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jun 21, 2019 - Comments (4)
Category: Babies, Business

The World’s Most Unusual Drugstore



See their complete 1942 ad here.

"Stack it high and sell it cheap" was Doc Webb's motto. Over the years, he built his empire from a small drug store at Ninth Street and Second Avenue, opened in 1925, to a sprawling bazaar of 77 stores, covering seven city blocks. Webb was as much a national legend as his stores. The unorthodox, merchandising medicine man always had a gimmick to lure thousands of customers through the doors. At ten cents a dance, no wonder the Dancing Chicken generated excitement at Webb's City in this 1975 photo. He sold dollar bills for 89 cents and bought them back the next day for $1.35. He offered three-cent breakfasts, brought in animals that performed at the drop of a coin and mermaids who "talked." He made other merchants mad because he sold his wares below the suppliers' suggested prices.


Article source.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jun 20, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Freebies, Come-ons and Loss Leaders, Eccentrics, Regionalism, Twentieth Century

Follies of the Madmen #429



Posted By: Paul - Sun Jun 16, 2019 - Comments (0)
Category: Aliens, Business, Advertising, Tobacco and Smoking, 1970s

Follies of the Madmen #428



"Grape Nuts will make you Emperor of the World."

Source.

Posted By: Paul - Tue Jun 11, 2019 - Comments (3)
Category: Business, Advertising, Excess, Overkill, Hyperbole and Too Much Is Not Enough, Food, 1910s

Glacier Rub

I guess you can't keep a good (?) idea down. Particularly poignant product name in an era of climate change.





Posted By: Paul - Sat Jun 08, 2019 - Comments (1)
Category: Body, Head, Business, Advertising, Nature, Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, Twentieth Century, Twenty-first Century

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.

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