Category Archives: Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday — “Often a Bridesmaid but Never a Bride”

What do you think of when you hear the word Listerine? You probably think of fresh breath, a healthier mouth, and whiter teeth. Does the phrase, “Often a Bridesmaid but Never a Bride,” come to mind?  You’re probably thinking of Katherine Heigl and 27 Dresses, but I’m sure you didn’t know that this catchy phrase originated with Listerine. It’s true, in 1923  Listerine came out with this phrase to explain why girls in the 1920’s were left on the shelf instead of out on dates with men. The 1920’s were a very different time from today, it was more important to settle down and start a family. So, Listerine capitalized on the fact that as young women age, there was a simple answer as to why they couldn’t find “the one”. They even came up with a story about a young girl named Edna.

“Poor Edna was getting on for thirty and most of her girlfriends were either already married, or about to tie the knot. How she wished that, instead of being their bridesmaid, she could be the bride! However, any romance of hers invariably ended quickly. There was a reason. Unbeknownst to her, she suffered from bad breath and no one would tell her, not ever her closest friends.”

Essentially Listerine wanted all of the single women to believe the reason they couldn’t find a man to settle down with was because they had bad breath and none of their friends wanted to tell them. It worked on Listerine’s end; they sold millions of bottles of mouthwash. Was it the answer for the women who tried the product?  I guess we will never know, but it did give Listerine a breath of fresh air in the mouthwash world!


Flashback Friday — “Take a bite out of crime!”

Take a bite out of crime.

Why would anyone want to take a bite out of crime? It’s doubtful that most connoisseurs of fine food and drink would be familiar with the taste of crime anyway. There are no restaurants that have “Crime” on the menu and we can only imagine how a waiter would describe the flavors to a customer.

“Today’s special is Crime, prepared exactly how you like it. The flavors are quite bitter and sour and the dish is served with a side of jail time. The side can be substituted for prison time, ruined relationships and complete misery for an additional cost.”

This Flashback Friday we will look at the dog that popularized crime prevention among adults and kids for the past three decades.

I don’t think the face above needs any introduction. Seeing the picture probably brings back memories of childhood school events and community awareness days. Or perhaps the image triggered a suppressed memory of a Chicago zip code you can somehow recite: 60652.

McGruff the crime dog is the creation of advertising agency Dancer Fitzgerald Sample (now Saatchi & Saatchi), which volunteered its creative time and talent to the Advertising Council, Inc. in 1978; the mission was to help the nation learn ways to prevent crime.

The bloodhound dog is more than just a great way to educate about crime prevention. It is a masterpiece in marketing and advertising.

The image is widely recognized among adults. Seventy-three (73%) percent of adults recognize the image of McGruff and ninety-four (94%) percent know him once the name is mentioned according to the National Crime Prevention Council.

Children recognize the trench-coat clad dog just as often with seventy-eight (78%) recognizing the dog without being prompted on his name and ninety-three (93%) percent knew after being given the name.

Connoisseurs of fine food and drink may not appreciate the bitter taste crime has, however, advertising enthusiasts can appreciate a good dish when we see one.

Customer comment cards are always appreciated and can be sent to the restaurant manager at:


Chicago, IL. 60652.

Flashback Friday – The Breakfast of Champions

What do Stone Cold Steve Austin, the 2007 Florida Gators basketball team, Joe DiMaggio and Kristi Yamaguchi all have in common? Well, besides perfectly toned athletic bodies and international fame, they are just four of hundreds of sports celebrities and teams who throughout the years showcased their success by appearing on the front of a Wheaties cereal box.

The cereal Wheaties was first created in 1922 when a Minnesota clinician from a company that soon became General Mills accidently spilled wheat bran mixture onto a hot stove. The high nutritional value and taste of these wheat flakes made this cereal good enough to become mass produced.

Five years later, Wheaties began their association with sports by appearing on a billboard of a minor league baseball team in Minneapolis. When deciding what to write on their billboard, advertising executive Knox Reeves sketched out a box of Wheaties and instantly came up with the phrase “Wheaties— The Breakfast of Champions”. From that point on, the phrase stuck, and the cereal has been marketed as ‘The Breakfast of Champions’ to this day.

Soon after, General Mills decided to showcase a sports celebrity on the front of their Wheaties boxes as part of this marketing strategy, and in 1934, the legendary baseball player, Lou Gehrig, was the first to appear in what would become a rite of passage and measure of success for athletes. From Jesse Owens, Mary Lou Retton and Walter Payton, to Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and many more in between, sports legends have continuously graced the front cover of Wheaties’ iconic orange boxes.

General Mills has continued to use superstar athletes to market the Wheaties brand. And while the cereal’s taste may not be desirable to every palate, the brand’s classic messaging that emphasizes the importance of physical fitness and healthy nutrition has certainly translated well into the 21st century!

Flashback Friday – He Likes It! Hey Mikey!

Today’s flashback Friday is about a picky little boy who inspired a fifteen-year long advertising campaign.
1960s Life Cereal Box
Before Mikey, Life cereal by Quacker, was focused strictly on promoting a healthy angle. Ads charged with taglines like “Most Useful Protein Ever in a Ready-To-Eat Cereal” to fitness-minded moms and girls trying to keep their “girlish figure” (giggle). It wasn’t until the Doyle, Dane & Bernbach Agency entered the picture that Quacker was convinced they should go in a different direction.

The initial ad in the campaign (seen below) features two brothers who are fighting over who will take the first bite of the healthy cereal their mom bought them. They decide their little brother, Mikey, should do it, convinced he won’t like it because he doesn’t like anything. Low and behold, Mikey likes it! Since this commercial, there have been dozen of Mikeys, each with the same selective palette until the ad campaign’s end in 1987.

So, is this an example of a successful ad campaign? I’d say so. Any campaign that can run for fifteen years must be doing something right.

It also demonstrates a perfect marriage between Doyle, Dane & Bernbach Agency’s push towards making the brand geared more toward children and fun while maintaining Quacker’s health conscious objectives. Since its end in 1987, several healthy cereal brands, like Kix, followed suit and created campaigns that stayed young, fun, and fresh yet maintained a healthy reference point for adults.

What’s your favorite memory of Life cereal? Which Mikey do you think was the best?

Year: 1972-1987
Creator: Doyle, Dane & Bernbach Agency

Flashback Friday – Avoid the Noid!

What happens when you mix a human, a bunny, an evil-villainous plan, and Domino’s pizza? (You can cheat and look at the bottom of the post for a commercial!)

You create Noid and the campaign “Avoid the Noid” by Domino’s Pizza.

Group 243, a marketing firm that Dominos consulted with, created Noid in 1986. The ad campaign, starring Noid, ran until the 90s where it was replaced with a new campaign. Noid has made comebacks in the mid-2000s and even as recently as May 4th, 2011. “What was the purpose of Noid?” you might ask. I’m glad you did.

Avoid the Noid

This is the ultimate super villian, when it comes to pizza, to ever exist!

Noid was a villain in a red suit with distinctive bunny ears. Every time we saw him, he was constantly trying to ruin Domino’s pizza one way or another. Whether it was on a pogo-stick to try and flatten the pizza, or attempting to freeze the pizza, or even trying to de-fame Domino’s Pizza guarantees. The cartoon character was as evil as you can get while being family friendly with some “Tom and Jerry-like” humor.

The “Avoid the Noid” ad campaign was so successful that a computer game was created to accompany the campaign in 1989. This featured the player attempting to deliver a pizza with multiple Noids trying to stop you from doing it within a 30 minute time limit, which was Dominos guaranteed delivery time. Later in 1991, a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game called Yo! Noid was created. This game featured Noid fighting his arch enemy throughout New York City trying to earn the ultimate pizza as a reward.

Avoid the Noid Computer Game

The famous Avoid the Noid computer game from 1989. Pretty sweet graphics right?!

While the “Avoid the Noid” campaign eventually faded away, the Noid himself did not. With appearances in 30 Rock, Family Guy, The Simpsons, and other entertainment shows, the Noid stayed busy during his downtime with Domino’s Pizza. Because of this success, the Noid was brought back on two occasions in the past few years. In December of 2009, Dominos created t-shirts based on the “Avoid the Noid” ad campaign with the proceeds going to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The Noid made another appearance during May of 2011 helping to promote their Facebook page and as a stuffed toy during a pizza deal.

So, the next time you order Domino’s Pizza, remember there’s the Noid in his red bunny ears, trying to ruin your hot and fresh pizza.

Avoid the Noid at all costs!