80s, 90s, Commercials, Quick Lists, TV — May 7, 2014 1:58 pm

8 Advertising Questions That Still Have Us Scratching Our Heads

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In order for an advertisement to be effective, it really has to grab its audience. Posing a question seems to be a popular way to go, judging from the following eight wildly popular advertising slogans.

8 – Where’s the beef? (Wendy’s)

You’re getting a hamburger for 99 cents, what do you expect?

A simple slogan for Wendy’s turned into an all-purpose phrase that spun out of control. Even today you hear people exclaim “Where’s the beef?” and you immediately know that they are not of this time, but of a forgotten time of long ago.
Arguably one of the most famous slogans of the 1980s, “Where’s the beef?” was born in a 1984 Wendy’s commercial when actress Clara Peller, upon encountering a fluffy bun and mini meat, exclaimed—“Where’s the beef?” Peller then sold out the following year, going to Prego pasta sauce and saying she “finally found” the beef in Prego’s sauce. Spoiler: no one eats Prego.

7 – Wouldn’t you like to be a pepper, too? (Dr. Pepper)

Ah yes, the refreshing tastes of… wait, what is this?

Dr. Pepper has gone through many slogans, but its most beloved has to be “Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper too?” From 1977-1983 (and beyond), this was the question Dr. Pepper put out to its market. An even better Dr. Pepper question: What the hell is that flavor? It ain’t pepper, it’s not cherry, and it isn’t root beer, either. What are you?!

The full slogan/jingle went thusly:
I’m a Pepper, he’s a Pepper,
She’s a Pepper, we’re a Pepper,
Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too?
Be a Pepper. Drink Dr Pepper.

Or, if you dig Canadian comedy shows, you’re probably singing that as Dr. Shekter. That’s Eugene Levy and Rick Moranis in this 1981 clip.

6 – How do they get the caramel inside the Caramilk Bar? (Cadbury Caramilk)

A piece of Canadian history– the Caramilk Secret. I think we’re in trouble.

Caramilk, as it’s fondly known in Canada, or Caramello as it’s known in the U.S., is a delicious caramel-filled chocolate bar. Caramilk is uniquely Canadian, and are only produced at the Gladstone Chocolate Factory in Toronto, Ontario. The American version of this candy is made by Hershey and not Cadbury, so it’s probably not as delicious. Actually, it’s probably terrible. You should make friends with a Canadian and have them send you some.
In Canada, the “Caramilk Secret” has been one of the most successful and long-running ad campaigns in history.
So, how do they get the caramel inside of a Caramilk bar? This page explains it all. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it seems like a lot of work. I’d rather just eat a vat of caramel.

5 – What can brown do for you? (UPS)

Click for a larger image of my work-rage-induced slander

The “What can brown do for you?” slogan didn’t come about until 2002, not quite retro enough to fit in with this site, but I really just wanted to share this postcard with you. I worked at UPS (not the parcel division) from 2002-2007 and hated my life. We had an “employee appreciation day” and all we got were these lousy postcards. I immediately graffiti-ed mine and mailed it to Lee, who scanned it in 10 years later and emailed it back to me.

4 – What would you do for a Klondike Bar? (Klondike Bar)

I would, and have, killed a man.

We’ve all had to answer the ages-old question: “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?” What would I do for a glorified Revello bar? Well, a lot of things, actually. This slogan is likely one of the most successful in history and seems to have existed before the Klondike bar did in the 1920s. So what would you do? I’d uh, spend $5, buy a box, and eat them one after another in a fit of shame.

3 – Whatchamacallit? (Hershey’s Whatchamacallit)

I listened to this jingle 30 times before uploading this article. You’re welcome.

Whatchamacallit is a chocolate bar that includes a peanut-flavored crisp with a layer of caramel, coated in milk chocolate. Unfortunately, in 2008, Hershey’s cocked up a lot of their chocolate bars, so now the Whatchamacallit is made of oil substitutes instead of cocoa butter. So, Whatchamacallit? A gross greasy mess, now.

2 – Have You Played Atari Today? (Atari 2600)

Yes, just not the Jaguar.

Long before Sega did what Ninten-don’t, the big video game slogan was a question of whether one had played Atari that day. And did you? Aw yeah, you probably did because what else was there? The market was completely saturated with these consoles and video games. You couldn’t escape it, even if you wanted to. But what about TODAY? Have you played Atari TODAY? Maybe you should go rectify that.

1 – How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? (Tootsie Pop)

You could save yourself the trouble and just eat a Tootsie Roll.

Tootsie Pop’s slogan has been around, and going strong, since 1970 when it was first introduced as a debate between a boy, a cow, a fox, a turtle, and an owl. Each animal, upon being asked, would explain that they didn’t know how many licks it took—they’d lick once and chomp down, resulting in many a lost teeth in children across North America. Later, the ages-old question and solution would be associated strictly with the owl. No matter what decade, the answer was always the same—“The world may never know”.
After a very scientific study in the house of my best friend, we determined it took 411 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop. Not three. Unless you want broken teeth. Which, according to Wikipedia, coincides with a University of Michigan study that also concluded it takes 411 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. I’d like to pass judgement on this educational institution, but I wasted just as much time.

What was your favorite advertising question? Leave us a comment below!

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