Brighten the Visit With Pepsi

By Johanna Goldberg, Information Services Librarian, with Jarlin Espinal, Technical Services Assistant

This is part of an intermittent series of blogs featuring advertisements from medical journals. You can find the entire series here.

From JAMA, volume 182, number 8, November 24, 1962.

From JAMA, volume 182, number 8, November 24, 1962.

Advertisements in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), have reflected food and diet trends from the start.

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the journal normally had two pages of ads an issue, often related to food. By the late 1940s, advertising exploded. The May 3, 1947 issue of JAMA has 130 pages of ads, with food-related items amidst the publishers, medical devices, cigarettes, cosmetics, sanitariums, hospitals, and pharmaceuticals.

The advertising boom only increased—“In 1958 the industry estimated that it had turned out 3,790,809,000 pages of paid advertising in medical journals.”1 By this time, ads for pharmaceuticals far surpassed those for food- and diet-related items, a fitting trend as “between 1939 and 1959, drug sales rose from $300 million to $2.3 billion”1

The food- and diet-related advertisements presented here fall into several categories. There are promotions from industry groups—including my favorite, in which the National Confectioners’ Association attempts to convince doctors that candy has health benefits. There are beverages, ranging from baby formula to ovaltine to soft drinks. There are items that remain familiar today and items that seem totally foreign—if someone out there has tried Embo, please let us know. And of course, there’s the intersection of pharmaceuticals and diet, as claims of appetite suppression move from ads for apples and citrus to drugs like Desoxyn.

From JAMA, volume 106, number 20, May 16, 1936.

From JAMA, volume 106, number 20, May 16, 1936. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 134, number 1, May 3, 1947.

From JAMA, volume 134, number 1, May 3, 1947. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 134, number 2, May 10, 1947. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 134, number 2, May 10, 1947. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 154, number 3, January 16, 1954. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 154, number 3, January 16, 1954. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 154, number 5, January 30, 1954. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 154, number 5, January 30, 1954. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 154, number 6, February 6, 1954. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 154, number 6, February 6, 1954. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 154, number 9, February 27, 1954. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 154, number 9, February 27, 1954. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 182, number 7, November 17, 1962. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 182, number 7, November 17, 1962. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 182, number 7, November 17, 1962. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 182, number 7, November 17, 1962. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 234, number 2, October 13, 1975. Click to enlarge.

From JAMA, volume 234, number 2, October 13, 1975. Click to enlarge.

Reference

1. Donohue J. A history of drug advertising: the evolving roles of consumers and consumer protection. Milbank Q. 2006;84(4):659–699. Available at: http://facultynh.syr.edu/bjsheeha/ADV 604/History of Drug.pdf. Accessed May 30, 2014.

3 thoughts on “Brighten the Visit With Pepsi

  1. Great stuff!…I’m going to ask to mother if she ever remembers eating Embo as a child. She’s the right generation: born in early 30’s, and not far from Minneapolis, where General Mills was located.

  2. And those medical journals were left on the tables in waiting rooms for patients to peruse. It was public advertising and a way of legitimizing those products. Today, the TV ads are the most productive ads (in terms of drawing customers). Patients now come to their physician wanting whatever they saw on TV.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s