November 5, 2010

Vintage Drugstore Carnival: 'Listerine'... Because halitosis makes you unpopular.

"Don't fool yourself! Since halitosis never announces itself to the victim, you simply cannot know when you have it." Ya gotta love that sales tactic! Nothing seems more effective than fear or paranoia to really push a product. And if that doesn't work, surely knocking down people's self-esteem by telling them they'll be "unpopular" should do the trick! If you click to enlarge the advertisement, pay particular attention to the FACTS in the lower right-hand corner. I love that they're relying on what 68 hairdressers had to say about their clientele, "many of them from wealthy classes". And, after all, "Who should know better than they?"

~ Image taken from the postcard book, "Just what the doctor ordered": Health and Grooming in the Classic Age of Advertising. Published by Prion Books Limited, London. ~


  1. This was featured on a recent episode of QI. They used it as an example of the marketing department basically coming up with a "health" problem that the product could solve and thereby instantly corner the market on. The term "halitosis" didn't even exist before Listerine invented it. True story.

    The More You Know ==*

  2. Wow, I love this! "Fermentation in the oral cavity..." EW!!! And this is the first time I've been exposed to the word "halitoxic," but I plan to use it frequently, if possible.

  3. I'm doing a project on the advertising history of Listerine, and this sure is helpful! Do you happen to have any idea when this ad was first published though?

  4. Hello, Anonymous!
    Thanks for stopping by!
    To answer your question, the information that I have says that this particular advertisement was first published in 1928. I hope that helps...

    Feel free to drop by my circus, anytime! :)

  5. Halitosis and halitoxic is it relative words?


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