Pel-Freez Thimk Rabbit - A fad for all seasons.

"Thimk Rabbit". What's an ironic typo in a 1961 ad have to do with the underdog rabbit meat lobby? Not much, but it was a fad in the sixties to misspell "think", even though it had nothing to do with your product. Is it an actual typo? Nope. It was a fad.

Double-you tee eff? They didn't weave it into their ad copy in any clever way. They just tacked it on at the top. Why jump on a fad if it has nothing to do with your product? Maybe because advertising always wants to seem hip and "with it". I fail to see how this helps with the sales of rabbit meat. I guess the trend was just that huge. Everyone was doing it.

Punch card machines with "think" sign on the wall in background..
Punch cards. Those weren't the days.
In the 1930's, IBM began using the slogan "Think.". Makes sense, right? It's a computer company that uses diligence and intelligence as their corporate identity. Back then, IBM was called the National Cash register Company, but the slogan was such a hit that they brought it on over when they became International Business Machines. It was a huge hit and of course was trademarked by IBM. "Think" was used by IBM through The Seventies Apple made their own response slogan "Think different.", which actually was a little ironic, too. To be grammatically accurate, the sentence should read "Think differently." (Lolly lolly lolly). I think Apple was being cheeky.

Now we come to the origin of today's weird ad. In The Fifties, there appeared a parody of the "think" sign: "thimk". Google Answers' timeline is uncertain how it started, but it was at least popularized be MAD magazine, which apparently existed in the fifties. News to me.

This is just conjecture, but I bet "thimk" started as an office joke kind of thing. You know -  the way that people used to have office jokes that had clearly been photocopied  a hundred times and faxed around the world from person to person? This is how memes used to get around before the internet. Anyway,  I bet MAD was just the first to publish "thimk", even though it had been cropping up among office wiseacres before then. I have no proof. It's just a guess.

So "Thimk" was s huge hit with people, the same way that "pobody's nerfect" was a hilarious thing for a while. How huge a thing was it? Well, apparently it was huge enough that a rabbit meat company couldn't afford to seem like they weren't hip to the jive. That's pretty big. It's strange that Pel-Freez went with the "thimk" line instead of just spelling it "scwewy wabbit", implying a link to Elmer Fudd, who had been doing the cartoon hunting gig for some twenty years by then. I wonder if "wabbit" was trademarked by Warner Bros.? Actually, now that I think of it, Pel-Freez probably wouldn't want their potential customers imagining Bugs Bunny being slaughtered and eaten by their family. Definitely bad for business. See? These are the landmines you can avoid when you think a little before you pull the trigger. IBM was wight.


Jim Dillon said...

I have always associated "thimk" with "fnord" but now I realize that's an anachronism. Trouble with being born so young, like you, is that it makes it hard to spot anachronisms on the fly.

Anonymous said...

My father worked for IBM in the 60s and 70s, and had one of those "THINK" desk signs on his desk at home. And I remember the "THIMK" parody from that time, which was really funny to me having grown up around it.

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