April 24, 2014

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Those disappearing product blues PDF Print E-mail

Every now and then I find myself waxing a tad nostalgic over products that once graced market shelves, as well as some of the stores that sold them.
I’m sure you remember F.W. Woolworth, America’s first five-and-ten store. There was one on State Street in Beardstown. Founded in 1879, Woolworth grew to become the dominate variety store. Competition from Kmart and others led the company to launch its Woolco discount stores. That wasn’t enough and company closed its last U.S. variety store in 1997. In 2001, the company changed its name to Foot Locker, Inc. The original Woolworth name has been revived by another company and is an online store in the United Kingdom, Australia and some other countries.


Upper 10 was a caffeinated lemon-lime soda pop that became one of RC?Cola’s flagship brands. The soda pop made its debut in 1933. However, it lost market share to non-caffeinated sodas and was discontinued in the U.S. market about 12 years ago. It continues to be available in a number of markets outside North America.
A personal favorite was Ipana toothpaste. Introduced in 1901 by Bristol-Meyers, Ipana was the first toothpaste to include a disinfectant to combat bleeding gums. Ipana reigned as the nation’s leading toothpaste from the 1920s to the 1960s. Sales began to slip when Crest with fluoride hit the market. The Ipana brand was discontinued in the U.S. in the late 1970s. A Canadian company, maxill, has reintroduced Ipana (now labeled “ipana”) along with the brand’s popular mascot, Bucky Beaver. Yes, it even has fluoride.
Andeker beer was introduced by the Pabst Brewing Company in 1939 as a dark all-malt “Andecher-style” beer, meaning it was similar to the beer brewed by monks in and around Munich, Germany. Promoted as “The Beer Supreme,” Andeker was available until the mid-1960s and again between 1972 and 1986. Rumors abound that Pabst will reintroduce Andeker, but the beer’s fans are still waiting.
Remember Carter’s Little Liver Pills? Introduced in the 1880s, it was marketed as a remedy for a condition called “torpid liver.” The product became so popular that it gave rise to the expression: “So and so has more ___ than Carter has Liver Pills.” In 1943, the Federal Trade Commission challenged the efficacy of the pills. The case dragged on until 1959, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the word “liver” had to be removed from the product name because there was not a shred of evidence the pills did anything for a liver, torpid or otherwise. From that point, Carter’s Little Pills was sold as a laxative. It now is branded as Carter’s Laxative, but receives no marketing support.
Fatima cigarettes once was one of America’s leading brands, so popular that it often was used as a prop by writers such as Dashiell Hammett and in movies, radio shows and later TV. Fatima claimed to be made of an exotic blend of Turkish tobaccos. Through the 1940s, the package featured the image of a veiled Middle Eastern woman. This was replaced by a star and crescent symbol similar to that used by Turkey. When Jack Webb’s “Dragnet” series debuted on radio, Fatima was the sponsor. The brand began to lose market share in the 1950s and was dropped around 1980.