This is the second in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of pieces looking at advertisements in comic books over the decades that amused me for whatever reason. In each installment, we’ll take a look at three ads!
Here is an archive of all installments of this feature.
In keeping with the Butterfinger ad from the first installment, let’s take a look at another Curtiss candy product from that same year (1941) that further demonstrates the inane beneficial claims of dextrose.
I’ll give you a little history recap first, though. Dextrose is a name for one form of glucose that is derived from corn. Glucose is basically sugar. In the 1930s, when dextrose was developed, food companies just wanted to call it sugar, but the beet sugar and cane sugar companies successfully convinced the government (through a major lawsuit in 1940) to differentiate dextrose from “real” sugar, which WAS different, in the sense that cane and beat sugar were a compound of glucose and fructose, while dextrose was pretty much entirely glucose (and as commenter Mary Warner points out, it is interesting to note that modern-day corn sugar now has gone dramatically the OTHER direction, nearly half fructose/half glucose). So if you wanted to use dextrose in your product, you had to SAY you were using dextrose. You couldn’t just call it sugar. So companies, naturally, had to figure out a way of making dextrose sound GOOD, so the way they did so was to stress the fact that dextrose/glucose is, in fact, used as an energy source in humans (which is true).
So that led to Curtiss making a large series of ads where they stressed the energy effects of dextrose, even creating a cartoon spokesman called “N.R.G.” to promote how much energy dextrose gave you.
You saw in the first installment of I Saw It Advertised One Day how Curtiss pushed Butterfinger as something to give kids energy, but today we look at a Baby Ruth ad that goes even further with the nonsensical buzzwords, along with an endorsement of the coach of the New York Football Giants!!!
“Real Dextrose food-energy sugar”?!?! What the heck?!!?
I’m also quite sure that that Steve Owen came up with his quote all on his own.
I love this mid-70s ad from Wayne School because it just doesn’t give a crap.
“Listen, buddy, if you want to graduate high school, let us know. If not, then don’t. We’re not going to bother with any so-called ‘graphics’. Let’s be real, if you haven’t graduated high school yet and are inspired to do so by a comic book ad, you’re probably pretty desperate and don’t really need convincing from us.”
Finally, I dig this 2003 X-Men food products ad for a few reasons…
1. Super Sour Jubes just sounds insane
2. Around this time, Marvel insisted on Wolverine looking the same in all their titles (which really sort of screwed with what Morrison was doing in New X-Men at the time) so that they could have a consistent look for their licensed products. However, if you look at the packages, he has different costumes on each product ANYways!
3. Just the general silliness of seeing Wolverine brand bite size crisps and you know, the very concept of “x-treme snacks.”
That’s all for this installment! If you can think of some goofy comic book ads you’d like to see me feature here, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not make suggestions in the comment section, so that they can still be a surprise for future readers. In fact, I think I’ll just start deleting comments that contain future suggestions.
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