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"Bet You Can't Eat Just One" And Other Slogans and Commercials We Remember

Updated on October 2, 2015

Potato Chips

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Bet You Can't Eat Just One

Those of you who were around in 1980 remember this advertising slogan very well, at least you should. I'm going to give you a moment to remember the product, the brand that started it all. Ready? Lays Potato Chips. Of course, you're saying, I knew that!

On a more serious note, do you know anyone who can eat just one potato chip, Lays or otherwise? It's probably physically impossible. How did the whole potato chip thing start? George Crum of Moon Lake Lodge in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1853, got annoyed at a customer who kept sending his potatoes back saying they weren't thin enough. George sliced them as thin as he could and fried them. He salted the daylights out of them too. When he tried to get his revenge on the customer, the joke was on him. The customer loved them.

Potato chips are the number one snack in the United States.

"Bet You Can't Eat Just One" was developed by the Young & Rubicam Advertising Agency.


Where's the Beef?

Wendy's food chain came up with the question, "Where's the Beef?". Seems the 80s was a good time for advertising. This question started in 1984. Of course one has to admit, using Clara Peller in the advertisements was nothing short of brilliant! Looking at her huge hamburger bun and miniscule hamburger, it was the perfect question. Supposedly her question was to be "where's all the beef", but she made a mistake and it took!

According to Wikipedia, Nashville songwriter and DJ Coyote McCloud subsequently wrote and performed a hit song entitled "Where's the Beef?" as a promotion for Wendy's restaurants' famous advertising campaign. Wendy's and Clara differed about just how much money she made, but it would seem she did okay in that department. Clara died three years after her television debut at the age of 85.

Time to Make the Donuts

Who couldn't sympathize with poor Fred getting up so early to make the donuts! Did he complain? No, he just said, "time to make the donuts" in rain or shine, he knew he had to make the donuts. Anyone who worked related to having to get up in the morning "to make the donuts" whether you wanted to or not!

Michael Vale was featured in Dunkin Donuts commercials for fifteen years and became one of those beloved icons. He wasn't the first choice, but it is said when he did the reading for the part they knew he was the right actor. Of course this ad didn't hurt Dunkin Donuts any, people loved Fred. (Did you know that Michael Vale was in Marathon Man?)

Advertising Hall of Fame

Yes, we've laughed, we've cried and we've remembered advertisements and their slogans. Did you know there's an Advertising Hall of Fame? Certainly those great minds and their ad campaigns deserve some form of recognition and the Advertising Hall of Fame is the place they get it.

In 1976, the Jack Tinker & Partners Agency came up with the line, "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is." Do you remember what the product was? Yup, Alka Seltzer. I don't know about you, but when I think of Alka Seltzer I think of that darling little Speedy Alka Seltzer. Baby faced Speedy first appeared in a television commercial in 1951! Between 1951 and 1964 he appeared in 212 television commercials, all that before "plop plop, fizz, fizz"!

How about "You're in good hands with Allstate"? Do you have any idea how long that's been around? I was very surprised to learn it started in 1956. When I stop and think about it I guess it has been around what seems like forever. Originally "Allstate" was the name that won the contest for new tires at Sears & Roebuck & Co. The insurance company, using the same name as the tires, was started in 1931. It was offered by mail just like Sears other products.

With credit cards so commonplace now, it's hard to remember a time when they weren't, but we didn't always all have credit cards. There was a time when the number one credit card had it's slogan, "Don't leave home without it". Of course that card is American Express. The slogan began in 1975 and has been applied to everything from credit cards to cell phones by those in the know.

Renting cars isn't something everyone does and if most are to be honest, years ago Hertz was the only one everyone knew, so when Avis was trying to break into the business it came up with the slogan, "we try harder". What's hard to believe is that was back in 1962!

"The quicker picker upper". Men, you're excused if you don't know this one, but ladies I know you do! Bounty, "the quicker picker upper". I know you remember Rosie too. Watch the video to the right and see if you know what I mean.

Men, this one's for you, but only if you're well over fifty. "a little dab'll do ya." Back in 1949 when men were using hair cream to keep those locks sleek and shiny, Brylcreem was at the top of its game. Well known and well used, but still in need of a little push, the Kenyon & Eckhardt Agency came up with the slogan "a little dab'll do ya."

What would Mr. Whipple say? "Please don't squeeze the Charmin." In 1964 dear Mr. Whipple warned ladies in his store not to squeeze the Charmin, but while he was warning them he was squeezing it himself.

I'm sure you could add more, just stop and think a minute!

Television Commercials

There was a time when you automatically tuned out the commercials, but over the years advertisers have outdone themselves making commercials not only worth watching but funny or touching. Yes, I cry at commercials, but I laugh too. I also sit and saw "Aww". Some commercials are just not to be missed.

Here's a crazy commercial that may or may not make you laugh depending on your sense of humor, followed by one that's just darn cute.

Super bowl Commercials

Just like sweeps week on television where all the programs put their best foot forward, Super bowl commercials tend to be the best in the business! Everyone pays big bucks to have their commercials air during the Super bowl, and with everyone watching they know they better be the best out there. Just FYI, last year a thirty second commercial cost 4.5 million dollars and they're looking at 5 million for next year's. Yes, you read that right, just for 30 seconds! While I am with you, that money could be better spent in this country, there is little we can do about it. It is a standard that has been set and as long as people watch football on television the price will continue to rise.

I digress, this is about the commercials themselves, morality is for another time. If you never watch a commercial in your life, Super Bowl Sunday, is the day to change that. I don't watch the game so I have to catch the commercials when they are re-run, and believe me, they are re-run for that kind of money. I might add here, it seems Doritos and Budweiser are the ad leaders.

There is no way I can bring you all of them, but here is a small representation.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture! I hope you've enjoyed this little escape into commercial land from slogans to television commercials.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

      These are classics for sure. I hope the marketing people who dreamed them up made big bucks for them. The first one I thought of was "Let's let Mikey try it; he'll eat anything."

      Have a great weekend, Mary!

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 20 months ago from New York

      Oh Bill, I forgot about that one! I don't know how since I was always telling my kids that. Thanks for being the first here on this dreary Friday morning. Have a great weekend!

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 19 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Mary - What a fun write this must have been for you. Sadly, I remembered all of the classics you talk about here. Even the Brylcreem though there is no longer any need for the product here. Hey, come to think of it potato chips, hamburgers, donuts - are all gone.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 19 months ago from south Florida

      I remember these well. Clara and her 'Where's the Beef?' complaint is one of my all time favorites. I also enjoyed the Snickers Super Bowl commercial with Bette White being tackled by football players. Ooof!

      Thanks for rounding these all up and presenting such fascinating deja vu, Mary.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 19 months ago from sunny Florida

      This was such fun, Mary. So much fun to walk down memory lane....and it called to mind so many others....

      thanks for this hub

      Angels are on the way to you this evening ps

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 19 months ago from sunny Florida

      Hi I forgot to tell you am ~~~sharing, pinning, g+, and tweeting

      :D ps

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 19 months ago from Shelton

      where's the beef was my all time favorite.. LOL a great walk down memory lane here Tillsottan :) thanks for rearing it back up Frank

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 19 months ago from london

      A couple of funny ones. I like the Bear and also the Star Wars guy. Interesting the way that things can sometimes get started. I like the potato chip story with the extra salt. Surprise, eh?

      Refreshing Hub, Mary.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 19 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      What a trip down memory lane, as all of these were familiar to me.

      Love the back stories and revisiting these gems with your videos.

      I loved and still refer to the Timex watch ad- 'takes a licking and keeps on ticking'...

      Great morning smile maker. Thanks, dear Mary.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 19 months ago from southern USA

      Hi Mary,

      I was just thinking about this the other day back when the whole nation only had three channels to watch on television, and we all grew up with the same jingles in our heads and so we all knew the same songs and watched most of the same television shows. Now, there are so many channels that we don't really connect in that same way any longer it seems, except maybe the Super Bowl commercials.

      The history behind the commercials is great. I enjoyed these newer commercials too you have included.

      Blessings always

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 19 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You have funny commercials and so nicely approached.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 19 months ago from New York

      Mike, isn't it funny how commercials remind us so much of the history of our culture? So many gone, but not forgotten.

      Drbj, as Mike said, this was fun to do and remember. Certainly my pleasure to walk you down memory lane.

      PS, glad to make you smile and especially appreciate all your sharing. Blessings my friend.

      Frank it's always nice to remember fun things from the past. Thanks for being here.

      Manatita, the " Star Wars" guy is one of my favorites. I can imagine that little boy's shock when the car starts! It is funny how some things are "invented". Glad you liked this hub.

      Maria, so many memorable commercials. I had forgotten about the Timex one. Of course we remember different commercials, from different times in our life and in history. Thank you dear friend for being here.

      Faith, you are so right, we are disconnected in so many ways. I remember it seemed like the whole world was watching the Ed Sullivan Show and that was because, as you pointed out, there wasn't much else to watch. Returning blessings to you dear one.

      Thank you DDE, it was fun to do.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 19 months ago from Central Florida

      Mary, I used to write TV commercials for a living back in the '80s, so I've always paid attention to them. You've highlighted some great ones here.

      I really wish Charmin would bring Mr. Whipple back. To me, the current bears (that you-know-what-in-the-woods) campaign is in poor taste. I just imagine little kids asking their parents what bears have to do with toilet paper. What do you tell them?

      Like you, I don't watch the Super Bowl, but I do like to check out the commercials on YouTube once they've aired.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 19 months ago from Orlando, FL

      I still say so many of these slogans often, my favorite is Where's The Beef! Commercials these days aren't as good as they used to be. Women parading on the screen for panti-liners, really?? Ridiculous. The anti-smoking commercials are the lamest of all. Fun blast from the past.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 19 months ago from New York

      I totally agree Sha. While they bears are cute, who care if the bear s#$% in the woods! Thanks for stopping by.

      It's funny Linda, how these things stick in our heard. The anti-smoking commercials are hard for children to watch for sure. Glad you enjoyed.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 19 months ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting read. I can enjoy some commercials when they are brand new and haven't been ran into the ground yet.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 19 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I loved this hub Mary even though I have never seen most of these ads before (different country). I enjoyed the "Dunkin Donut" ad especially. What fun.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 19 months ago from New York

      Larry I know what you mean. Sometimes I'll see a commercial and like it, but then after seeing it what seems like 1,000 times, it isn't so cute anymore.

      Jodah, I know your commercials are different, different products where you are. I appreciate you reading my hub and checking out our past commercials.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 19 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Budweiser always did have the best commercials, didn't they? Remember the frogs? Also I remember the Dunkin' Donuts one, with the little old lady, "Well, I guess I won't be needing these any more." Then she showed her muffin tins. Great memories, and it only shows how good some of those commercials are, if we can recall those ads for decades.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 19 months ago from New York

      So true Deb. Some commercials are mundane and annoying, but the good ones are sooo good! Thanks for stopping by.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 19 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Til....Commercials are the BEST! Often, they're more entertaining than any program on TV! I remember them all. In fact, I'm sure I could quote you some that were popular when you & I were just teens & you would remember ALL of them.

      My favorite one of recent is the "Hump Day" Camel. The very first time I saw that, I laughed out loud. I mentioned it to some friends who hadn't yet seen it. I told them it was going to be a huge hit. Well.....looks like I was right! I KNOW my commercials when I see them! LOL...........Great hub, Til.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 19 months ago from New York

      We're always on the same wavelengths GF! There was a Ford commercial a while back where the father gave his son his Ford when the son got out of the service. I cried every time I saw it!

      Those guys get big buck so they better write good commercials! Have a great week my friend.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 19 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      What a great trip down TV Memory lane. We all sang the commercials growing up and even to this day I can't get some of those jingles out of my mind. I'm singing the Brylcream song in my head right now. Then there's Bum bum Bumblebee Bumblebee tuna... And of course I remember Speedy Alka Selzer and the catchy tune they later used, "No matter what shape your stomach is in."

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 19 months ago from New York

      We are creatures of habit Peg and the advertisers know how to get to our brain, making their jingles a habit. Though, like you, some still make me smile. How about Sorry Charlie?

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 19 months ago

      tempting indeed

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 19 months ago from New York

      Love your succinct comment sujaya!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 18 months ago

      Well this made me smile this morning! I remember all of the examples that you showed (not sure if that is good or bad). I also love the super bowl commercials, my favorite being the Budweiser one where the farmer gives his young horse to the team and some time later the horse (grown up) runs down the street after a parade to great the farmer. Makes me cry everytime.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 18 months ago from New York

      I got to smile reading your comment Glimmer. I cry too when I watch that one and several other Budweiser commercials as well. They really know how to tug at our heart strings.

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