Pitch perfect: Prize-winning slogans

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
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