1917 “Buy Advertised Goods” Ad (National Biscuit Company Advertisement)

Source: American Cookery (January, 1917)
Source: American Cookery (January, 1917)

Are branded goods that are promoted with advertising of higher quality than similar “no-brand” items? That’s a question that has been around for at least a hundred years. Here’s a 1917 National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) ad which argues that consumers should, “Buy advertised goods – Do not accept substitutes.”

31 thoughts on “1917 “Buy Advertised Goods” Ad (National Biscuit Company Advertisement)

    1. It’s a little sad to think about the small businesses that probably made high-quality products, but who couldn’t compete when it came to promoting a brand.

  1. Except for the Fig Newtons and the grahams I don’t recognize any of the others. I’m pretty sure Nabisco still makes ginger snaps but they aren’t called ZuZu now. I’m probably half and half on brands and a lot of times it just loyalty based on tradition. For example, worchestershire sauce…always buy Lea and Perrins because that is what my mother bought and I never saw a reason to try another. But graham crackers? Anyone that is the cheapest…they all smash up the same into crumbs.

    1. I also often purchase a brand based on tradition. Sometimes it just seems easier to buy something that I’ve purchased in the past than to try a different brand.

      An aside – Lea and Perrins Worchestshire Sauce has been around for more than a hundred years. I have seen ads for it when browsing through magazines from the 1910’s.

  2. I recognize the Fig Newtons, the Uneeda Biscuits, and of course the graham crackers. There are some so-called “store brands” that I’ll buy, but very few. There’s no sense paying a premium for things like canned tomatoes or frozen veggies, but there are other things, like yogurt and ice cream, where there’s an obvious difference in quality.

    1. I buy a mixture of branded and generic items. My favorite laundry detergent is the generic store brand, but when it comes to paper towels I always buy one particular national brand.

  3. I will take a different viewpoint than many–something that is “unbranded” has no responsibility to protect its name, whereas a brand wants to protect itself. So if I buy Oreo’s cookies they are likely to be better than a generic cookie of the same sort. That said, I much prefer a homemade or even baker cookie to an Oreo ;).

    1. I also tend to consider the likelihood that the quality will vary when making purchasing decisions. For example, when deciding which variety of sugar to buy, I might buy the generic brand since it is relatively inexpensive and I generally can’t see much variation in quality from one brand to the next; but I will always buy the more expensive brand-name spices because I think that the quality is higher.

  4. Interesting… I go back and forth as my mood changes, although I do have some brand loyalty for a few processed foods. Doubt if I could pass a blind taste test for most kinds of food, though…

  5. I’m guilty of this…I have some brands that I trust and buy over others (even when the others are cheaper), simply because I’m used to them. I guess I’m an advertiser’s dream!

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