Okay, I’m going to show my age with this blog. I’ll venture a guess, though, that I’m far from the only one that instantly recognizes some of the early expressions connected to many of the world’s best known brands. I’m talking about the promotional power of brand stories, slogans, and songs. Many will remember the popular jingle, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,” from 1971. Likewise, you probably have the Timex watch slogan, “It takes a licking and keeps on ticking,” well entrenched in your memory bank. Or, how about M & M’s “Melts in your mouth – not in your hands” tagline? Believe it or not, both the Timex and M & M’s ads originated in the 1950’s. Feeling old yet?
Moving a bit farther back in history – say three quarters of a century or so – you’ll come across the first mention of “M’m M’m Good” as the Campbell’s Soup slogan. Stepping back even farther – Maxwell House Coffee’s “Good to the last drop” goes back to 1926. There are countless others and too many good ones to mention here. The main reason I’ve listed these more ‘modern’ maxims is to help introduce a few phrases from wagon manufacturers that were also well known in their day. Each of these was designed to do at least two things – First, draw a line of separation between a specific brand and its competitors and… Second, be so memorable and trusted that the first purpose of separation is continually reinforced.
With that as this week’s backdrop, let’s see how well you can match up a campaign slogan with a particular brand. Take a look at the mottos below. Can you name the wagon company(s) most often associated with each?
- The Monarch of the Road
- King of All
- Good Timber & Bone Dry
- The Pride of St. Louis
- The Wagon of Quality
- Light Running & Durable
- We Tower Above All
- Best Material. Best Made. Best Finished on Earth.
- No Wagon is as Good
- The Farmer’s Favorite
- A-Very Good Wagon
- The Wooden Shoe Line
- The Old Reliable
- The Only Original and Genuine
- Wait for the Wagon (song)
While some of these phrases were occasionally used by more than one brand, most of the expressions became commonly associated with a single firm. Each is a solid example of how even the earliest wagon makers made use of advertising methods still considered to be essential marketing tools today. It’s one more reminder of the competitive sophistication employed every day within America’s first transportation industry. We’ll re-visit these points next week, sharing the companies typically associated with the individual phrases.
Coming up in the next few weeks, we have plans to share even more details on a number of subjects including specialized vehicles used within the logging industry, an earlier look at the legendary 20 Mule Team, snapshots of wagon company survivors today, and another incredible discovery tied to the 1876 Centennial Exposition (1st World’s Fair) in Philadelphia. Stay tuned. The Wheels That Won The West® Archives continue to grow, shedding new light on America’s wood-wheeled beginnings.