1916 Jello Advertisement

Source: American Cookery (October, 1916)
Source: American Cookery (October, 1916)

They sure knew how to package Jell-O a hundred years ago. The “Safety Bag” would keep it “as pure and sweet” as the day it was made for years.

I checked the “best used by” date on a package of Jell-O in my cupboard. The date was November 16, 2014.  Time flies, and I don’t remember when I bought it, but I don’t think that it was real long ago.  In any case, I discarded the package . . .  sigh . . . I wish that modern Jell-O would keep for years like the old-time Jell-O in its Safety Bag.

Hundred-Year-Old Nestle’s Food Advertisement

Source: Ladies Home Journal (August, 1913)
Source: Ladies Home Journal (August, 1913)

Hundred-year-old advertisements that pique my interest generally make me smile. This one didn’t.

I found the ad upsetting., and it raised so many questions:

  • When did companies first start selling commercial products that were advertised for use as a baby formula?
  • What information, other than advertisements, was available to help parents decide how to feed their infants?
  • What was the reaction of new mothers and mothers-to-be to this ad?
  • What percentage of the women breastfed their babies a hundred-years-ago?

I have no answers,  but I  just can’t get this advertisement out of my mind – so I decided to post it.

1916 Coca-Cola Advertisement

Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine), May 1916
Source: American Cookery (Boston Cooking School Magazine), May 1916

Even a hundred years later, this 1916 advertisement works for me. I can’t remember the last time I bought any Coca-Cola but I’m ready to head to the store right now.

Some things haven’t changed over the past hundred years. Both then and now, advertisers seek to engage people with a brand. Ads inform, tell a story, and help create an image.