A Success Story…..
From Near Extinction
To Top Selling Brand
“Some time ago, Pepsodent Tooth Paste was licensed exclusively
to use a newly discovered ingredient called Irium .”
--- Bill Hay
Lincoln, Me. (DG)---
Old time radio has helped many products become popular. Although many listeners complained about the commercials, they did buy the products the announcer was selling on the air. One of these products was Pepsodent Tooth Paste. It was a leading brand of dentifrice during the years of radio’s golden age, and it sponsored several popular radio programs--- but had it not been for radio, it might have been discontinued.
During the late 1920’s, sales of Pepsodent Tooth Paste were floundering badly. It was serious enough that the people of the Pepsodent Company were considering removing it from the open market. Luckily, the company gave their beleaguered product another chance. The Pepsodent Company gave Pepsodent Tooth Paste the sponsorship of a serial program that was to make its network debut on Monday, August 19, 1929 over the stations of NBC’s Blue Network. The serial program in question was AMOS ‘n ANDY.
The program quickly became successful. It was the program that the United States took time out every Monday-Saturday evening from 7:00-7:15 PM to tune in (Monday-Friday in later years). In order to maintain business during this time, restaurants had radios installed so the people could enjoy listening to AMOS ‘n ANDY while eating their meals. Movie theaters delayed the start time of the movies they were presenting until after the program concluded. AMOS ‘n ANDY was definitely a program that made an impact on the American people.
Pepsodent Tooth Paste benefited from sponsoring AMOS ‘n ANDY. Of course, the best way to keep a radio program on the air was to buy the product the program sponsored. The people bought and used Pepsodent Tooth Paste . They found out it was a product that cleaned away dulling film from teeth without soap, grit, gunk, and other unpleasant stuff other tooth paste and tooth powder used. Pepsodent cleaned teeth with the help of its ingredient “Irium.” Because of Irium, Pepsodent provided its users with a gentle way of cleaning teeth, while leaving a refreshing taste in the typical human yap. With the help of AMOS ‘n ANDY announcer Bill Hay, Irium became almost as famous as the product that contained it.
With AMOS ‘n ANDY’s success during the 1930’s, Pepsodent Tooth Paste had a knack of sponsoring popular radio programs. Its magic continued in 1938, when it was the sponsor of NBC(Red’s) PEPSODENT SHOW starring Bob Hope. As you might imagine, Hope had some humorous comments about his sponsor and its Irium ingredient. During its sponsorship, Hope’s program was consistently among the highest rated radio programs during the 1940’s.
On this program, the listeners heard a jingle about a girl named Miriam (which rhymes with Irium). She was an attractive young lady whose figure and looks could easily catch the eye of single men. Unfortunately, there was also a problem. Miriam didn’t brush her teeth with the toothpaste that contained Irium. The result was disastrous. When they saw Miriam's dingy teeth, they did a quick about-face. Fortunately, Miriam used Pepsodent with Irium on her choppers. With her white teeth and pleasant smile, the men were quickly attracted to Miriam like a magnet.
After concluding its sponsorship of Hope’s program, Pepsodent continued its uncanny ability to sponsor popular radio programs. It sponsored the CBS comedy MY FRIEND IRMA during the evening, and co-sponsored ARTHUR GODFREY TIME and HOUSE PARTY with Art Linkletter during the daytime. All 3 programs achieved high ratings. It also wouldn’t be out of the ordinary if the comedy team of Bob & Ray presented a commercial or 2 for Pepsodent Tooth Paste on their program as the 1950’s was coming to a close.
For a product on the verge of extinction, Pepsodent Tooth Paste became a tremendous success story. Of course, network radio played a huge part in that success.