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British Industrial History

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Pepsodent

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The Pepsodent Company of 40 Holborn Viaduct, London, EC1 (1922).

Pepsodent is a brand of toothpaste with a wintergreen flavour. It was formerly owned by Unilever. (but, since 2003, by Church and Dwight in USA).

It was advertised for its purported properties fighting tooth decay, attributed in advertisements to the supposed ingredient Irium. Irium is another word for sodium lauryl sulfate, an inexpensive ionic surfactant.

Its best-known slogan was “You'll wonder where the yellow went / when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!” [1]

  • 1930s A massive animated neon advertising sign, featuring a young girl on a swing, hung on a building in Times Square in New York City.
  • 1950s Pepsodent was a very popular brand before the mid 1950s, but its makers were slow to add fluoride to its formula to counter the rise of other highly promoted brands such as Crest and Gleem toothpaste by Procter and Gamble, and Colgate's eponymous product; sales of Pepsodent plummeted. Today Pepsodent is a “value brand” marketed primarily in discount stores and retails for roughly half the price of similarly-sized tubes of Crest (Toothpaste) or of Colgate.
  • 1994 In a speech then-FCC chairman Reed Hundt claimed that the "Irium" mentioned in Pepsodent advertisements "didn't exist". Another ingredient, "I.M.P." was purported to whiten teeth.
  • Pepsodent is still sold as a Unilever property in India, Indonesia, Chile, Finland, and several other countries.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1]Phrases.org