In Preston Sturges’ classic comedy (did he make any other kind?) Christmas in July (1940), Dick Powell plays an average schmoe who is tricked by pals into thinking his entry in a coffee company’s slogan contest (“If you can’t sleep at night, it’s not the coffee—it’s the bunk”) is a winner, which would, in theory, garner him $25,000 in cash.
And then the comic mayhem ensues.
As we’ll see in this collection of prize-winning slogans from William Sunners’ 1949 effort, American Slogans, $25,000 was not your typical award for a prize-winning slogan in the 1930s and ’40s—not even close.
It’s interesting to see that a couple of products, Crisco and Cheerioats (the original name of the cereal we know as Cheerios), seemed to believe strongly in the idea of slogan contests. And public safety slogans, too, were apparently often created by members of the public looking for a prize.
This particular collection of slogans is a long one, so this week, we’ll share with you the slogans from A to D. More to come next week.
Abroad CHEERIO, at home, CHEERIOATS (won $25).
Abundance on a budget (won $50), Crisco.
Absence of accidents depends upon presence of mind (safety).
Ace of the eights (Marmon).
Accidents begin when caution ends.
Accidents don’t prove who is right, but who is left.
Add your name to America’s might (Defense Bonds).
Adds fame to a famous name (Schlitz Beer).
Adds pleasure to your life and life to your pleasure.
Admiration for being careful is better than sympathy after you are hurt ($15).
Advertising is the fertilizer in the Field of Commerce.
After all, they produce results (won Ford), Omaha World Herald classified ads.
After meals, try this suggestion: take Pep-O-Mints to aid digestion ($250).
After the wreck comes the reckoning.
Ale that fits the name of Schiltz, The.
Alert today, alive tomorrow ($500), L. I. newspaper safety contest.
Alive to the bottom bubble (sparkling water).
All out now or all in later (War Bonds).
All that the name implies ($250), Golden Cup Coffee.
All’s well. It’s a Chevrolet.
ALL-READY, the nation’s winning nourisher ($25), Cheerioats.
Although sugar is rationed, Freedom is sweet.
Always alert, nobody hurt.
Always in demand, always at hand (National Lumber Manufacturers).
Always Be Careful (ABC of safety).
Always pure and fresh with just-right creaminess.
America fights hardest when its hardest to fight.
America has never been licked, except by flames.
America is the light that will keep civilization from having a blackout.
America was “conceived in liberty” and we must guard her heritage ($25), Bonds.
America’s at war. Are you? ($25), War Bond drive.
America’s most popular “candy-date,” Cryst-O-Mint ($100).
America’s outstanding moulder off fascinating personality.
America’s Wash-Words ($1000), Rain Drops.
America, where it’s BONDS, not BONDAGE.
An adventure in breakfasts (Kellog’s Corn Flakes).
An army of kernels (Sperry Wheat Hearts).
An ounce of precaution saves tons of wreckage.
Arch Preserver Shoes give you more styleage, more mileage, more SMILEAGE.
Arrest Cancer, it’s wanted for murder (won $25,000 home), Damon Runyan Cancer Fund.
As we give so shall we live ($25), War Bond drive.
Ask the fellow who has been hurt, he knows (safety).
Asset test, The
Baking master of master baking, The (Sperry Flour).
Making need for mixing speed, A (Crisco).
Bank on and in your neighborhood (Chicago Bankers Association).
Bans smoke and smell, blends fast and well ($50), Crisco.
Be a hero, not a Nero (safety).
Be COALED and warm (coal).
Be Crisco smart, be half done before you start.
Be like Paul Revere and wait for the change of lights (safety).
Be one WITH, be one OF, and be one IN the Sesquicentennial (Phila. Exposition).
Be safe, be sure, be thrifty, buy Rexall (drug stores).
Be safe or you’ll be sorry (safety).
Be sure yours locks are safe.
Beam of light or a candle bright, A (Bond Electric Co.).
Beautifies hair for women who care (Frederick’s permanent).
Because Occident Flour is amazingly perfect, results are perfectly amazing.
Bed at home is worth two in the hospital, A (safety).
Best for nutrition, purity, and full delicious natural flavor (won refrigerator).
Better a look than a limp.
Better buy a Yello-Bole, a better briar honey bowl (pipe).
Better cup from bottom up, A (Sunshine Cup).
Better good old recipes with new better Crisco.
Better music; it halves our sorrows and doubles our joys.
Better stop and ponder than pass over yonder (safety).
Better stop at the crossing than at the graveyard.
Better to prevent than lament.
Between two fires choose coal.
Black Flag is their loot, liquid they’ll spray, powder they’ll shoot.
Black Flag pirate crew kills insect pests for you, The.
Bond is a bullet YOU can shoot, A.
BONDS-men today or bondsmen tomorrow.
Bond’s so good it’s miles ahead of any other kind of bread.
Both feet in heaven (Air-O-Magic shoes).
Bottle cry, The.
Breakfast cheer throughout the year ($50), Cheerioats.
Bright lighting makes home inviting.
Bring smiles to your table the easy, creamy Crisco way.
Brings the outside in (for television station).
Broken laws mean broken lives (safety).
Budget protection in baking perfection (Sperry flour).
Build better with better lumber.
Build your cooking reputation with creamy Crisco’s sure foundation.
Built to win, without, within (Paige).
Burn coal, two thousand reasons in every turn.
Burn Red Ember, low in ash, perfect heat, little cash (won watch and radio).
Busy man’s lunch, A (Tom’s Toasted Peanuts).
But the crackers, Krispy PLEASE any jam or cheese ($50).
BUTTER richness, mellow RUM, two delightful tastes in one ($10).
Butter Rum, new taste sensation, sweetens “close-up” conversation ($100).
Butter Rum’s my favorite flavor, distinctive, luscious, new Life Saver ($100).
Buy bonds as if your life depended on it, it does ($25).
Buy Bonds! Being broke beats being butchered ($50).
Buy Bonds, brother, because being BONDED beats being bombed ($50).
Buy Bonds, brother; better be broke but breathing ($50).
Buy Bonds, “buck by buck,” blast Berlin block by block ($50).
Buy Bonds! Never cease till we have a lasting peace ($25).
Buy Bonds out of your income & you won’t have to worry about the outcome ($25).
Buy, buy Bonds, or bye, bye Liberty.
Buy coal when reasonable; burn coal when seasonable.
Buy Defense Bonds, loyal Yanks, Gen. MacArthur deserves our tanks ($25).
Buy in safety, sell in confidence (Los Angeles Times Advertising dept.).
Buy the Rexall way, highest quality, less to pay.
Buy … build … boost Cleveland.
Buy Defense Stamps and join the stampede to victory ($25).
Buy the best for less for cash (first prize), Clothing store.
Campus Sports give more smiles per foot (shoes).
Care for safety means safety from care.
Careless driving is a one-way ticket to death (safety).
Careless machine operator and his fingers are soon parted, A.
Carry Wint-O-Greens in your car; handy refeshMINT wherever you are ($100).
Cars have horse-power, you supply the horse-sense while driving.
Caution at corners saves sessions at coroners.
Cent-sible way to sweet enjoyment, The (Tootsie Roll contest).
Cereal meal with national appeal, A (Kellog’s).
Cat has nine lives and can afford to take chances, A.
Cereal you get STEAMED UP over, The (Sperry Wheat Hearts).
Certified by centuries of service (won $5000). Lumber contest.
Chance-taker is the accident maker, The.
Change baking CAN’Ts to Crisco’s CAN.
Change you’ve craved, The ($50), Cheerioats.
Cheer up with Cheerioats ($50).
Chevrolet brings yesterday’s distant places to home for playgrounds of today.
Chevrolet—miles ahead of its rivals; years ahead of its time.
Chocolate drink mixed quick as a wink.
Choose, America! BONDS-men today or bondsmen tomorrow.
Christmas morning “out of debt” is the “gift” you won’t forget (Christmas Club).
Circles of crispness add to your briskness ($50), Cheerioats.
City with a prosperous future, The ($100), Gloucester, N. J.
Cleanser supreme that restores the gleam, The ($25), Kitchen Cleansing Creme.
Clearance house of new ideas, A (Household Magazine).
Cleveland, a great city today and still on its way ($500).
Cleveland, Community of Opportunity.
Cleveland presents 150 years of progress and prosperity ($100).
Clever circles that click ($50), Cheerioats.
Clocks repaired on TIME.
Close, cool and fast Wardonia shaves with blades that last ($100).
Club with a heart to spade in prize diamonds, The (N. Y. Contest Club).
COAL, Comfort Of American Life (acrostic).
Coal in your bin keeps health within.
Coal makes warm friends by the ton.
Coal, the carbon copy of the sky.
Cold time is coal time.
Come across so THEY can’t come across (Defense Bonds).
Come, look and live ($25), Houston, Tex.
Comfort obtained at less (acrostic for COAL).
Comfort Of American Life (Retail Coal Merchants Assoc.).
Coming way of going places, The (free wheeling).
Commands respect on any road (Paige).
Common sense behind the wheel rather than senseless beneath the wheels.
Common sense saves burnt dollars.
Concentrate on Stamps so you won’t “concentrate” in camps ($25).
Cooking ease and eating pleasure Crisco gives with double measure.
Cooking’s half done before begun with creamier Crisco. ($50).
Country where rights and liberties are preserved at any price, The.
Cradling your foot, lightening your step, complimenting your outfit, kindling your pep (won car), John Irving Shoes.
Cream of shortenings NOW pre-creamed to perfection, The (Crisco).
Creamier Crisco assures cooking ease, meals that satisfy and please ($50).
Creamier Crisco blends through fast making bakings smooth at last ($50).
Creamier Crisco easily mixed makes wholesome meals easily fixed ($50).
Creamier Crisco, easy to measure, easier to mix.
Creamier Crisco for perfect blending, quicker mix and happy ending.
Creamier Crisco gives full measure of year-round cooking pleasure.
Creamier Crisco makes crisp brown crusts crunchy and digestible.
Creamier Crisco makes old-fashioned favorites with new-fashioned way.
Creamier Crisco merits praise, blends with ease, stays sweet always.
Creamy Crisco, fresh and fast, stays sweet to the last ($50).
Creamy Crisco merits trust, bakes and fries a better crust.
Creamy Crisco, white as snow, tenderizes any dough ($50).
Creamy Crisco’s super-speed meets your every cooking need.
Crisco adds to mealtime pleasure, multiplies leisure ($50).
Crisco batters need less heating, make old recipes better eating ($50).
Crisco cakes are feathery light, moist to the last bite ($50).
Crisco-cooked foods create happy moods (won Mixmaster).
Crisco, French-fries, quick and easy, crispy, crunchy, never greasy.
Crisco gives me cooking ease, makes my husband’s eating please ($50).
Crisco in the kitchen means better food on the table.
Crisco in your measuring cup brings perfect-cake average up.
Crisco is creamed beyond compare, makes pastry easy to prepare ($50).
Crisco makes good cooks and good cooks use creamier Crisco.
Crisco puts skill in your hands, health in your food.
Crisco stays creamy soft when cold, factory-fresh when old ($50).
Crisco stays sweet and pure in every kind of temperature.
Crisco, sugar and egg yolks quickly blend with fewer strokes ($50).
Crisco’s best because it’s steady, ever-fresh and always ready ($50).
Crisco’s easy-mixing part gives cake-makers a head start ($50).
Crisco’s ever-creamy stability greatly increases baking facility ($50).
Crisco’s gyro-churning saves needless work on baking days.
Crisco’s smoothly-mixed batter makes good cooking an easy matter ($50).
Cryst-O-Mint pampers palate, pleases purses, sweetens breath as you converse ($100).
Cryst-O-Mint, the RING to wed “sweet breath” and “good digestion.”
Cultivate safety and harvest happiness.
Daily ROUNDS for the family circle ($50), Cheerioats.
Daily “round-up” of vitamins ($50), Cheerioats.
Dance, aristocrat of recreations, The (Dancing Masters of America).
Dancing hearts are happy hearts.
Dancing toes bring many beaus.
Danger lurks where cautions shirks.
Death ever lurks under the Black Flag.
Death needs no drive for membership.
Deeds, not creeds, meet human needs (Community Chest).
Defend our way of living by giving. (Community Chest).
Defense Bonds safeguard your future and America’s ($25).
Dent-defying feature of Bond, A (flashlight contest).
Denver, a mile high and miles ahead.
Destiny of America will be the destiny of the world, The ($25).
Difference between safety and disaster is the driver, The.
Distinct in flavor, secure in favor.
Do be careful, drivers, let my child come home ALIVE (won car), Safety slogan.
Donate your old galoshes to help BOOT the Axis.
Don’t be heedless; accidents are needless.
Don’t dream and drive; wake up and keep alive.
Don’t gamble with safety, the odds are against you.
Don’t give your country credit, give it cash; buy War Bonds.
Don’t just read these slogans, heed them; drive safely.
Don’t take a chance; that chance may take you.
Don’t tax your car to the limit; let the government do it.
Don’t think a train has passed just because you see its tracks.
Door to better homes; the key to better living, The (Household Magazine).
Double sparkle with double ease (won radio).
Doubles your face value (Campana cosmetics).
Double the caution, halve the cost.
Dr. West’s toothpaste adds charm without harm.
Drink Florida sunshine for that inner glow (oranges).
Drive as though your child walked ahead.
Drive carefully, drive again.
Drive like the wind today, and be “gone with the wind” tomorrow.
Drive right and be left.
Drive safely; keep play yards full and graveyards empty.
Drive slowly; crippled children make crippled citizens.
Driving was just a “passing fancy,” so he had a “fancy passing.”