While collecting newspaper ads and articles, I’ve noticed a whole bunch of ads for Ovaltine, which Wikipedia calls a “brand of milk flavoring product made with malt extract.” However, the makers of Ovaltine have never been sure how to market it. They’ve tried just about everything.
In the July 7 1923 Toronto Globe, they marketed Ovaltine as a sleep aid:
In the September 19 1925 Toronto Globe, they marketed it as a “pick-up” for listless office workers.
The September 7 1927 Toronto Globe praised it as a sustaining tonic that helped distance swimmer Georges Michel make it across the English Channel. It was apparently his only nourishment during the ordeal.
The October 1 1928 Toronto Daily Star included “a message of national importance”, offering health for all at lower cost:
Sixteen days later, in the October 17 1928 Toronto Daily Star, they recommended heating Ovaltine to relieve afternoon fatigue:
During the midst of an influenza epidemic, the December 22 1928 Toronto Globe stated that Ovaltine could protect you from the flu:
In the April 20 1929 Toronto Globe, they were back to marketing Ovaltine as a cure for sleeplessness:
And, the February 25 1930 Toronto Daily Star suggested that it was a delicious and healthful beverage after an evening of bridge.
This was the end of what you might call The Golden Age of Ovaltine. I found some Ovaltine ads much later, in the 1940s and 1950s – by then, they had settled on their niche, which was that Ovaltine was a useful supplement for babies and small children. From the June 8 1943 Toronto Daily Star:
And from the March 25 1947 Toronto Daily Star:
And, finally, from the February 2 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:
This ad also mentions that Ovaltine can maintain the mother’s health and strength. Or perhaps stave off sleeplessness. Or whatever.
Throughout the years, Ovaltine was always marketed by A. Wander, Limited, first located in Toronto and then in Peterborough. I think I would have liked to sit in on one of their marketing strategy meetings.