Unfortunately, despite the catchy promotion and practical use, and despite the fact that the company offered pharmacists a very popular clock as a promotion!
And also the then “new” collapsible tube idea, the product couldn’t compete with the rising tide of alternatives.
World War 2 produced a lead/tin shortage and that, combined with the fact that lead leaks into the toothpaste, lead to the development of plastic tubes.
The advertising genius that was Pepsodent was released
An interesting example of toothpaste history, as a single brand is that of ‘Pepsodent’ toothpaste, which anyone over the age of 60 will know very well due the amazingly successful promotion, probably the first of such success.
It was introduced in the United States in 1915 by the ‘Pepsodent’ Company and was so named as the original formula for the paste contained pepsin, an enzyme that breaks down proteins.
From 1930 to late 1933 a massive animated neon advertising sign, featuring a young girl on a swing, hung on West 47th Street in New York’s Times Square (featuring in the original film “King Kong” in an establishing shot of Times Square itself.)
Following the acquisition of the ‘Pepsodent’ Company by the Unilever company by in 1944, sales of ‘Pepsodent’ in the UK increased rapidly, more than doubling between 1944 and 1950.
The company soon outgrew its original factory in Park Royal, Chicago and the manufacture of the product was moved to the factory of another Unilever-owned toiletry manufacturer, Joseph Watson and Sons of Whitehall Road, Leeds (UK), in 1951.
‘Pepsodent’ was a very popular brand before the mid-1950s, but its makers were slow to add fluoride to its formula to counter the rise of other highly promoted brands such as Crest and Gleem (more recently resurrected as an electric toothbrush) from Proctor and Gamble.
Consequently, against the barrage of cavity fighting properties, by these and Colgate toothpaste (from Colgate); sales of ‘Pepsodent’ subsequently plummeted.
Today ‘Pepsodent’ is just known as a “value brand” marketed primarily in discount stores and retails for roughly half the price of similarly sized tubes of Crest or of Colgate.
However, those over 60 will always remember its best-known slogan was “You’ll wonder where the yellow went, when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!”