Funneled Vision : The World According to Advertising Slogans

<i> William Harry Harding is the author of "Mill Song" (Holt, Rinehart & Winston Inc., 1985). </i>

For years now, I have collected slogans. As reflections on our culture, these pointed mottoes fascinate me, and I’ve put many of them to use in my fiction. The other day I stumbled onto an extraordinary resource: “Slogans,” by Laurence Urdang and Ceila Dame Robbins (Gale Research, 1984), who have gathered more than 6,000 catch phrases from the world of advertising.

Merging the best from the authors’ list with some favorites from my personal collection, then fitting the results into categories of my own invention, I have attempted to reveal life in these United States. A few of these slogans are famous. Each is the real thing. It Ain’t Necessarily So America’s smartest car--Rainier.

Wakes up your hair--Admiration Soapless Shampoo.

They moo for more--The cottonseed meal of Allis-Chalmers.

Good paint costs nothing--Bradley & Vrooman.

Classics Nobody Remembers

Mends everything but a broken heart--Fix-All.

Best antifreeze since mink--Du Pont’s Zerex.

Made in the milky way--Ohio Butterine Co.

Doesn’t stun ‘em, kills ‘em--the Fly-Foon Co.

Great Minds Think Alike

Untouched by human hands--Sweet Message Chocolates and Chock Full O’ Nuts Restaurants.

Nuances make all the difference: Haynes Automobile Co. built “America’s first car,” but the Packard was “socially, America’s first motor car,” and the Marmon became “America’s first truly fine small car” (not to be confused with “the smaller fine car,” the Allen).


Important historical note: “Love at first bite” has nothing to do with a Dracula movie, but belongs to Suchard chocolate.


Breakfast of champions--Wheaties.

Choice of champions-- bullets by Western Cartridge.

The bait of champions--Fred Arbogast Co.

Reels of champions--Penn Fishing Tackle.

The dog food of champions--Ken-L Biskit.

The Future Is Now

Tomorrow’s car today--the Durant Star.

The washer of tomorrow is the Barton of today.

Anticipating tomorrow’s needs today--Humble Oil.

Kenwood makes “the video with a future,” Toshiba is “in touch with tomorrow,” and Panasonic is “just slightly ahead of our time.”

Caution: The New York Central Railroad once promoted itself as “the road to the future.”

Nothing Wasted

Good to the last drop--Maxwell House coffee.

Good to the last crumb--Stuhmer pumpernickel.

Good to the core--Pacific Northwest Fruits.

Dustless until the last shovelful--Giese Brothers Coal.

The Invasion of . . .

The can opener people--Dazey Products.

The pressure cooker people--National Presto.

The grass people--O. M. Scott & Co., who later became “the lawn people.”

No Comment

Sure is strong--Schield lye.

Awful fresh--MacFarlane Nut Co.

We fool the sun--Indianapolis Tent & Awning.

No damp amps--Cincinnati Electrical Products.

Made in Japan by fanatics--Teac.

Who changed it?--H. K. Porter & Co.

Like butterflies, slogans live only a short time. The world keeps changing. And so I wonder, is the Boston Store still the heart of Milwaukee? Does the Bulletin still dominate Philadelphia? Is Dallas still the door to Texas? And, as its boosters once claimed, does Los Angeles remain the city where nature helps industry most?

Of course, I don’t know. But I do know that Ozark Fisheries are where better goldfish are grown, that the catch of the New England Fish Co. is always packed with the wiggle in its tail, and that a Niagara Searchlight bores a 300-foot hole in the night. Who could ask for anything more?