Round about 1906, Frank H. Fleer invented the world’s first bubble gum product. It was never sold to the public because it was too sticky and brittle. Also, it was named and was going to be marketed as “Blibber-Blubber.”
He had founded the “Frank H. Fleer Corporation” which would later become a giant in the baseball card market and would earn historic distinction as the gum industry’s longest-running corporation. It has since been auctioned off to baseball card maker Upper Deck.
So, how did the Fleer Corp. survive a horrible product with a worse name? Let’s look back to the year 1928. An employee of the Frank H. Fleer Corporation developed a formulation for the gum that was as successful as it was brightly colored pink. The name of the improved chewing product also received a significant upgrade: Double Bubble, bubble gum.
This incredibly rare Fleer baseball card was produced in 1923 (Eddie Collins, Second Base, Chicago White Sox). The message on the back of these cards read “Every Five-Cent Package of Fleer’s Bobs and Fruit Hearts contains a picture of a famous person. Get the complete set of 120. FRANK H. FLEER CORPORATION, Philadelphia.”
Meet Bazooka bubble gum’s spokesboy, Bazooka Joe. This little guy was dreamed up in 1954, though he became truly famous as the protagonist of the Bazooka gum wrapper comics, cracking simple one-liners and such witty pronouncements as, “If you don’t have anything good to say about someone, you’re not thinking hard enough.” He’s been updated over the years, as has his cast of supporting characters, but the style and format have remained the same.
• Bazooka gum was developed right after WWII.
• The gum was named after a musical instrument from the 1930s.
• Comics were introduced in 1953 to add extra interest.
• Over 700 comics have been developed over the years.
• There is nothing wrong with Bazooka Joe’s eye. He wears a patch because it makes him more “interesting.”
In New York, a shoe company cooked up a promotional gimmick to gain media attention, which would then produce greater public awareness of their product, and thus increase sales.
They went to Rockefeller Center and stealthily attached shoes to the huge statue of Atlas. The freshly shoed statue stood before the passing swarms of amused humanity for six hours before security guards got around to removing them, all the while drawing media and earning free publicity. Free? It’s not known what fines were issued for the stunt, nor, sadly, is it known if the shoe company’s sales increased any as a result.
Ad ideas, not unlike gum, can sometimes lose their freshness and flavor rather quickly and wind up tugging in vain on the fast-moving heel of consumer interest. But then, apparently, some are longer lasting.