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Marketing Ovaltine

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:

1923 July 7 Globe

In the September 19 1925 Toronto Globe, they marketed it as a “pick-up” for listless office workers.

1925 Sep 19 Globe

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.

1927 Sep 7 Globe

The October 1 1928 Toronto Daily Star included “a message of national importance”, offering health for all at lower cost:

1928 Oct 1 Star

Sixteen days later, in the October 17 1928 Toronto Daily Star, they recommended heating Ovaltine to relieve afternoon fatigue:

1928 Oct 17 Star

During the midst of an influenza epidemic, the December 22 1928 Toronto Globe stated that Ovaltine could protect you from the flu:

1928 Dec 22 Globe

In the April 20 1929 Toronto Globe, they were back to marketing Ovaltine as a cure for sleeplessness:

1929 Apr 20 Globe

And, the February 25 1930 Toronto Daily Star suggested that it was a delicious and healthful beverage after an evening of bridge.

1930 Feb 25 Star

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:

1943 Jun 8 Star

And from the March 25 1947 Toronto Daily Star:

1947 Mar 25 Star

And, finally, from the February 2 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

1950 Feb 2 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.

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Unfortunate placement

The July 19 1929 Toronto Daily Star contained an ad and an article that didn’t go all that well together:

IMG_2504.jpg

I suspect that the owners of Canadian Colonial Airways would not have been happy to see their ad right above an article describing a plane crash.

Canadian Colonial Airways was formed in 1929, and was rebranded as Colonial Airlines in 1942 before becoming part of Eastern Air Lines. An airline timetable images site has a large collection of timetable covers for this airline.

I found one reference to Floyd Banghart in an obituary for his nephew. This article mentions that Banghart served alongside Billy Bishop in the First World War.

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May weather extremes

April in Toronto is unpredictable – you can have anything from sunny and warm to major snow and ice storms. Usually, by May, the weather has stabilized a bit. But some years are exceptions.

On May 30, 1929, the Toronto Daily Star reported that Toronto was in the midst of a heat wave:

IMG_2268

According to the weather records that I was able to look up, the high temperature for May 30, 1929 was 32.8C, or 91F. So the all-time record was not broken that day. The weather stayed warm for one more day, reaching 29.4C on May 31, but a cold front came through the next day, with the high temperature only reaching 15.6C.

May 26, 1961 went to the other extreme, as it had snowed the previous day, and there was a strong risk of frost that night:

IMG_2315

This had actually been a rather sudden reversal, as the high temperature for May 25 was 26.1C. I’m not quite sure how it managed to snow on May 25, as the listed overnight low was 9.4C, but the records that I have indicate that yes, it did snow on that day. (It also rained a total of 19.6mm on that day, so I guess a system was blowing air in from the north.)

Gardeners in the Toronto district, at least, dodged a bullet, as the overnight low went down to 0.6C – close, but not right down to the freezing mark. (Outside of the city, farmers and gardeners might not have been so lucky.) The high temperature for that day was only 8.3C, but the temperature rebounded to seasonal shortly after. On May 28, the thermometer reached 24.4C.