“I love zombies. If any monster could Riverdance, it would be zombies.”
― Craig Ferguson.”
At a time when some of the best-known brands in America turned 100 years old, the world had to say ‘goodbye’ to a pitchman who almost singlehandedly was responsible for revolutionizing the way brands were sold to consumers through media.
Ron Popeil, the larger than life television personality, pioneer of television marketing, and inventor extraordinaire, passed away late last month at the age 0f 86. Popeil started out as pitchman for products while working in the open-air markets of Chicago, but transitioned to television with his first infomercial in 1959 for the Chop-o-Matic food cutter.
Eventually becoming a staple of late night TV, he went on to market hundreds of products on air (including his own inventions like Popeil’s Pasta Maker, the Food Dehydrator, and the Showtime ‘set it and forget it’ Rotisserie) and became so well known that Dan Akroyd spoofed him on Saturday Night Live in 1976 and he later even appeared as himself on a slew of TV shows, including The X Files, The Simpsons, and King of the Hill.
Ron may not have made it to 100, but the following brands are all celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2021,
Wonder Bread– Launched on May 21, 1921, Wonder Bread was named after founder Elmer Cline’s love of hot air balloons which he considered a “wonder.”
Betty Crocker – A fictional character, Betty Crocker was created by Gold Medal flour to personalize responses to customer inquiries.
Cheez-It – Released eight years earlier, popular snack cracker lore claims that the cheesy, salty snack became especially popular during the 1929 Stock Market Crash when consumers stocked up on it.
White Castle – America’s oldest hamburger chain was founded in Wichita, Kansas and still thrives throughout the Midwest, South, and along the Eastern seaboard.
Edy’s (formerly Eskimo) Pie – Created by inventor Joseph Edy, the vanilla ice cream bar covered in a coating of chocolate was rebranded in 2020 when consumers decided the original branding was culturally insensitive.
Wheaties – The “breakfast of champions” has long relied on its connection with athletes in the typical consumer’s mind, a relationship the brand continues to foster with its iconic images of athletes on the boxes.
Chanel No. 5 – Coco Chanel and perfumer Ernest Beaux collaborated to create the first fragrance launched by the French brand which became even more popular when actress Marilyn Monroe famously said she wore nothing to bed other than five drops of Chanel No. 5.
And even though The Walking Dead, the popular comic book and later television series about the zombie apocalypse, can’t brag about having reached the century mark, the comic book only needs another 82 years and the TV series needs another 89 years to claim that prize (assuming they can avoid paying out all their profits to disgruntled creators and producers).
For details, check out this month’s IP Update.