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Advertising Catchphrases from the Groovy Era

Entertainment | October 27, 2018

Bounty paper towels were and are the “quicker picker-upper.”

Since companies have been manufacturing and selling products to consumers, the race has been on to be the biggest and the best… or at least appear to be. Advertising has always come at buyers in many forms over the years including giant billboards, door to door pitches, newspaper and magazine ads, catalogs and word of mouth. Years ago, companies thought nothing of sending out mass mailings of their massive product catalogs to anyone with an address that accepted mail.  Just about everybody had a Sears or J.C. Penney catalog in the hall closet.  Sometimes it was used for shopping and sometimes it was used as a booster seat for a small child at the kitchen table.

Early television shop selling color sets. Early television shop selling color sets in the USA, 1960's. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

When television became popular and were being found in just about every home in America, it made perfect sense to advertise consumer products over the airwaves. After all, advertisers already had a captive audience sitting in front of the television set watching their program… why not slip a little advertising in there? At the time, I don’t even think there was any hard and fast rule about flat out lying about a product in an advertisement.

TV Commercials were once straight to the point... Not anymore!

At one time, television commercials were clever and straight forward. They lasted anywhere from a few seconds to maybe 30 seconds if it was on the longer side. Marketers typically knew who their target demographic was and went right in for the kill. If the ad was for a cleaning product, they desperately attempted to appeal to the woman of the house. Ads would suggest that a certain product would actually make housework more fun and portrayed women in dresses and heels smiling as they cleaned the family home. Who wouldn’t want that?

Back in the day, even cigarette manufacturers were glorifying their product. A man would actually consider that if he smoked Marlboro cigarettes that he would be swarmed by beautiful and curvy women. If a woman smoked Virginia Slims, she could count on a rugged cowboy appearing out of thin air. Clever marketing goes a long way in selling products.

Marketers attempted to make audiences think that by using a certain product, you could achieve everything from a happy home to beautiful hair and a sexy body.

Marketers' and advertisers’ main goal is to make consumers sit up and take notice of their product offering. A good television commercial will leave you with a tune in your head that you just can’t get rid of. Short and sweet was typically the way to go in the 60’s & 70’s. Television commercials left audiences with just information and intrigue that consumers just had to run right out and try the product.

DVR has changed the way we watch television.

Fast forward to the present… Television viewers in the present day, can now confidently leave the room during a commercial break from their favorite show to cook a meal, do some homework or take a nap. Television advertising has gotten so out of control that it seems like the ads run just as long, if not more so, than the program itself. Now, often, I have noticed that I can watch a 2-minute commercial, and while something significant might jump out at me, I really couldn’t tell you what the product being advertised is.

Even more annoying than a long television commercial is the dreaded infomercial. Now, you can actually pick up the phone or open your laptop and buy the product right away, “while supplies last!”

Just like everything in life, advertising has changed over the years. Nothing stays the same, but it is often fun to think back to what you remember form the groovy days. Below are some of the advertising slogans from my groovy days that I still recite today when it comes to mind.

  • The Esso Company had us all wanting to put a “tiger in the tank.”

  • Do you remember Madge? She was the dutiful manicurist, complete with her official uniform, who was happy to tell her customers, “You know you’re soaking in it now?” That’s right… Palmolive dish soap.
  • “Ring around the collar.” This tagline was for Wisk laundry detergent. It was what all good wives used to clean their husband’s shirts!
  • Maytag appliances were advertised with the ad, “Our repairmen are the loneliest in town.”

“I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” That was a great ad for Alka Seltzer.

  • Double Mint Gum claimed you could “double your fun!” Remember the Double Mint twins?
  • Remember Mr. Clean? Yes, he is still around but he used to, “come in a bottle!” There was a joke at one time that "that" was the reason he never had any kids!  That was our idea of a dirty joke!
  • “Have it your way!” This was Burger King’s claim to fame! "Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us!”
  • McDonald's fast food chain had us all singing, “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun,” when ordering a big mac.

Advertising styles and content has evolved over the years and now we can even fast forward through the commercials. The fact remains, however, that these ads actually sell products so don’t look for them to go away anytime soon.

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.