Life Savers: 100+ Years of Sweetness

FB IMG 1700243510699As an elementary school kid, I thought, "When I'm an adult, I want to have 1 of every flavor of Life Saver there is." Life Savers Virtual Museum & Blog is the outcome of that quirky wish!

It's clear from the magazine advertisements that AssortMints were boiled candies...the mints were translucent and colorful. What type of mints were included?

🚧Under construction; needs pix & links

Screenshot 20240715 194152Life Savers at Christmas have long been a tradition. LifeSaversStoryBooks are a big part of the holiday season. And another part are Christmas ornaments.

Sometimes I forget that Life Savers were originally intended as a health product. But all it takes is a scan through the first couple of decades of Life Savers ads to see the score: Life Savers were a product of their (unregulated!) time. They were sold at pharmacies. They often included the herbal ingredients/ remedies already being sold there. In a time with quack remedies and little government oversight, anything goes.

From their inception in 1912 until at least 1964, Life Savers were still only $0.05.

How many products could make that claim?

By researching news articles, advertisements, and ordering cards available to companies purchasing them, one can start to get a sense of the start and end dates for flavors. This would have been so much easier if the companies that made Life Savers had kept meticulous records! If those records are out there somewhere, please let me know.

1912 - 1 flavor

Peppermint 

16 November 1916 - 3 flavors were available,

according to a magazine ad, Pep⭕mint, Lic⭕rice, Wint⭕green, Cl⭕ve.

My older relatives have always regaled me with stories about when color TV first entered their lives. Imagine the look of Life Savers in black and white, versus Technicolor™️? They were clearly made for TV. So here is a selection of ads through the years:

PXL 20240703 233528682RAW 01COVER2What is the difference amongst the various Licorice-like Life Savers? Why were they so popular in the early days yet nearly nonexistent in the last 50 years?

I have actually tried very hard to see whether Life Savers were sold around Europe (other than the UK). I may have screamed aloud when I finally found this ad from Italy. Thank you, Italy Magazine!

Now, for all of the other countries...

1000053612Did you realize that there was a collaboration between Life Savers & clothing designer Kirkland Hall in the 1940s to 50s? You can just imagine a young housewife thinking, "This Cryst⭕Mint is so gorgeous, I'd like to have an outfit in this exact shade."

And don't you just want to find actual Life Savers flavors for each of these colors?! (Okay, maybe that part is just me...)

Who handled Life Savers Marketing? At first, it was an in-house thing. After that, Life Savers seemed to acquire highly competitive companies to produce ever-more-complex brand decisions.

1913

Edward Noble made a number of the early marketing decisions after they acquired the product from Clarence Crane.

1919

Ayer (N W) Incorporated (N W Ayer Advertising Agency) https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/ac-component/sova-nmah-ac-0059-ref5145

2005 & earlier

Foote Cone & Belding https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/fcb-out-wrigleys-life-savers-goes-review-80792/

2005 & later

Omnicom Group’s BBDO, retrieved from Chicago https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/fcb-out-wrigleys-life-savers-goes-review-80792/2007 Energy BBDO, retrieved from https://adage.com/creativity/work/muffin-top/2833

https://adage.com/creativity/work/we-are-sweet/2834

2006

Wrigley's marketing issues with Life Savers, retrieved from https://adage.com/article/news/wrigley-ceo-cites-marketing-problems-altoids-life-savers/108412

2013

I. O. N. Advertising, retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/slideshow/lifesavers-ad-campaign/17968550

 

2022

Australia - TBWA\Sydney retrieved from https://campaignbrief.com/life-savers-provides-a-fun-escape-from-the-everyday-in-first-campaign-from-tbwasydney/

 

1000054754Marketing was not Clarence Crane's thing.

But it was clearly Ed Noble's thing. Noble's first conversations with Crane were about taking Life Savers to the next level. As a personal customer, he thoughts the mints had potential.

But Crane knew his place: He was an idea generator--he was already ready to move on to the next thing. Even as someone new to the marketing world, Noble was a student of how to grow ideas.