Double Duty Toothbrush - Prevents things.

Well, the fifties were a more innocent time, right? Yes and no. Back then, you could market toothbrushes under the name "Pro-phy-lac-tic" and nobody would look at you funny.
Would they? I'm not old enough to say for sure, but I'm pretty sure the word "prophylactic" meant "condom" even as far back as 1958, the year of this ad. In the truest sense of the word, it simply means "preventative". So, there's no official wrongness here, but in the cynical age we live in now, I don't think any company would sell products (other than the obvious) under such a word... especially any product you stick in your mouth.

"Prophylactic" is a terrible name for a company, dirty connotations aside. Number one, it's hard for people to say, or to figure out how to say for the first time. Number two, the company seems to understand what a mouthful the name can be, breaking it up into syllables for you with the hyphens, then just abbreviating the name to "Pro". These are signs you should junk the name and pick something else. Maybe it was the name of the founder? Wallace Prophylactic?

Here are some other great brands from the fifties with purely coincidental names you can no longer find on store shelves...

-Dr. Spermatazoa's Extra-Waxed Dental Floss
-Scurvy Jane's Pancake Mix
-Com-mu-nism Brand Woolen Socks - Now available in grey!
-Trumpet-Dump Prunes
-Rumpforce Stool Softener
-Splattergone's Fast-Acting Stool Hardener
-Grandma's Old-Fashioned Private Spray

So, The Fifties were naive, right? Maybe not. There's more subtlety going on here. Why all the girls in at-the-time scandalous bikinis all over the ad? The only one not wearing a swimsuit looks like she could be wearing a slip. Double you tee eff? Why use all the sex to sell a toothbrush? It was assumed that the housewife was making all the buying decisions at the grocery store, so women were the likely target of the ad. Why try to motivate her with toothbrush babes? Body image envy?The world may never know, not even with biting.

One more note. You'd never see any advertiser using any negative words today like "careless". The lawyers would go apeshit, fearing you're encouraging people to be careless. I love living here in The Future, but I will say that things were better before each and every decision made by more than two people was filtered through a lawyer.


Craig F. said...

Florence, Mass. Home of the "Miss Florence Diner." Great pie.

That's all I got.

Sue said...

I never thought to brush my teeth in just underwear. That will make them whiter and me more attractive! Wow, advertising really does work!

Anonymous said...

I love all the emphasis on "two-tone." Two-tone handle, two-tone bristles, two-tone ad. Marketing majors take note: two-tone spells "quality!"

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

This was in an era of two-tone cars, remember. Two tone anything was the shit. I have predicted for a few years now that two-tone paint will make a comeback on production cars. This is not to say I think it's a good idea - just that we'll see a return of the trend. It'll be interesting to see what Craigf thinks of my little prediction.

Thanks for the comments, everybody!


MrsBug said...

Trumpet Dump? TRUMPET DUMP?! Brother, THAT right there is an awesome phrase. My dad will love it.

Bianca Jackson said...

This advertisement about a toothbrush made me smile. Haha! The ladies look so happy admiring that gigantic toothbrush. A person has to wonder where they'd be able to find a tooth brush like that.

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