From Near Extinction
To Top Selling Brand
ago, Pepsodent Tooth Paste was
to use a newly discovered ingredient called Irium .”
--- Bill Hay
time radio has helped many products become popular.
Although many listeners complained about the commercials, they did buy
the products the announcer was selling on the air.
One of these products was Pepsodent Tooth Paste. It
was a leading brand of dentifrice during the years of radio’s golden age, and
it sponsored several popular radio programs--- but had it not been for radio, it
might have been discontinued.
During the late 1920’s, sales of Pepsodent
Tooth Paste were floundering badly.
It was serious enough that the people of the Pepsodent Company were
considering removing it from the open market.
Luckily, the company gave their beleaguered product another chance.
Company gave Pepsodent
Tooth Paste the sponsorship of a serial program that was to make its
network debut on Monday, August 19, 1929 over the stations of NBC’s
Blue Network. The serial
program in question was AMOS ‘n ANDY.
The program quickly became successful.
It was the program that the United States took time out every
Monday-Saturday evening from 7:00-7:15 PM to tune in (Monday-Friday in later
years). In order to maintain
business during this time, restaurants had radios installed so the people could
enjoy listening to AMOS ‘n ANDY while
eating their meals. Movie theaters
delayed the start time of the movies they were presenting until after the
program concluded. AMOS ‘n ANDY was
definitely a program that made an impact on the American people.
Pepsodent Tooth Paste
benefited from sponsoring AMOS ‘n ANDY.
Of course, the best way to keep a radio program on the air was to buy the
product the program sponsored. The
people bought and used Pepsodent
Tooth Paste . They
found out it was a product that cleaned away dulling film from teeth without
soap, grit, gunk, and other unpleasant stuff other tooth paste and tooth
powder used. Pepsodent cleaned teeth
with the help of its ingredient “Irium.”
Because of Irium, Pepsodent provided its
users with a gentle way of cleaning teeth, while leaving a refreshing taste in
the typical human yap. With the
help of AMOS
‘n ANDY announcer Bill Hay, Irium became almost as famous as the
product that contained it.
With AMOS ‘n ANDY’s success
during the 1930’s, Pepsodent Tooth Paste had a knack of sponsoring popular radio
programs. Its magic continued
in 1938, when it was the sponsor of NBC(Red’s)
PEPSODENT SHOW starring Bob Hope.
As you might imagine, Hope had some humorous comments about his
sponsor and its Irium ingredient. During
its sponsorship, Hope’s program was consistently among the highest rated radio
programs during the 1940’s.
On this program, the listeners heard a jingle about a girl
named Miriam (which rhymes with Irium).
was an attractive young lady whose figure and looks could easily catch the eye
of single men. Unfortunately, there
was also a problem. Miriam didn’t
brush her teeth with the toothpaste that contained Irium.
The result was disastrous. When they
saw Miriam's dingy teeth, they did a
Fortunately, Miriam used Pepsodent
with Irium on her choppers. With
her white teeth and pleasant smile, the men were quickly attracted to Miriam like a
After concluding its sponsorship of Hope’s program, Pepsodent continued its uncanny ability to sponsor popular radio
programs. It sponsored the CBS
comedy MY FRIEND IRMA during the
evening, and co-sponsored ARTHUR
GODFREY TIME and HOUSE
PARTY with Art Linkletter during the daytime. All 3 programs achieved high ratings. It also wouldn’t be out of the ordinary if the comedy team
of Bob & Ray presented a commercial or 2 for Pepsodent
Tooth Paste on their program as the 1950’s was coming to a close.
For a product on the verge of extinction, Pepsodent Tooth Paste became a tremendous success story.
Of course, network radio played a huge part in that success.