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May 11, 2024 33 mins

Donuts: they're sweet, delectable and dangerous. Nowadays they're best known as a sugary snack or a nice accompaniment to a cup of coffee, but this wasn't always the case. In fact, for a few years manufacturers tried to sell them as -- believe it or not -- a health food. Join Ben and Noel as they explore the strange rise and fall of the infamous vitamin donut in this week's Classic episode.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
We've returned with a classic episode. We'd like to do
a little intro and check in on these because we're
going back to the archives and we're digging up something
really weird from twenty eighteen. You guys, donut guys.

Speaker 2 (00:14):
Yeah, you know what I would to I was just
in Athens, Georgia over the weekend and shout out to
a little a cafe called Cafe Racer. They do excellent
breakfast biscuits. It used to be just a little shack
kind of like on one of the very windy, narrow
country roads leading to Athens, Georgia, but now it is
a going concern with a nice drive through on Broad

(00:35):
Street in Athens. But they do potato donuts, which I
believe are gluten free naturally they use potato starch instead
of flour, and they don't taste like potatoes. They just
I think are naturally gluten free and they are delicious.
I've never tried them before. Not necessarily infused with extra

(00:55):
vitamins though.

Speaker 1 (00:56):
Ah yes, yes, I love when people pronounce it vim
and so you know, for a lot of people, a
baked good, be it a sweeter savory thing is kind
of a go to breakfast accompaniment, right, especially if you
are in a hurry. You might have your cup of
coffee and you don't want to have all that caffeineo

(01:17):
an empty stomach, so you have like a nice little
snack or something. And you might have seen the meme too,
unrelated about what they call it the finish breakfast, and
it's just it's like a cup of coffee or espresso
and then a shot of vodka and a cigarette.

Speaker 3 (01:33):
So the item was a spectacle.

Speaker 2 (01:35):
I'm actually currently drinking a So Good So You Energy
Passion Fruit juice Shop, which is infused with one hundred
milligrams of organic caffeine plus one hundred percent daily value
vitamins B five and B twelve. So vitamin infused things

(01:58):
are still very much a going concern, you know. Now
it's more in the realm of juices or energy drinks
or what have you. But maybe back in the day
where we know things like bacon were essentially sold to
the public as a must have for breakfast, You're not
an American if you don't need bacon for breakfast. Shout
out Edward. Brene's marketing played a big role into creating

(02:21):
the kind of staples that we still think of today.

Speaker 1 (02:24):
Yeah, exactly, And this is this is something we see
in cyclical health and pop culture reporting. A study will
come out that says this thing is bad for you,
like fat's bad for you, or no, actually sugar's bad
for you, or no, actually carbs are bad for you.
Industries try to respond to this in any number of ways, rebranding,

(02:46):
you know, the image of their product. And back in
the day, as we were all surprised to find someone
did that with donuts, and they said, let's let's reframe donuts,
you guys, Let's add add some vitamins and some minerals,
and let's sell it to the public not as a

(03:06):
delectables sugar retreat, but as something that could be considered
health food. Spoiler, you're not going to find vitamin donuts
easily today, and we figured out why.

Speaker 3 (03:19):
Yeah, for pep and vigor. Am I right, Ben?

Speaker 1 (03:22):
Yeah, you're right, You're right pep and vigor, and we
wish you plenty of pep as you check out our
weirdly vigorous examination of the vitamin donut. Ridiculous History is
a production of iHeartRadio, What a Busy Day, Friends and Neighbors.

(04:08):
Right before we started recording we both accidentally hung out
in the studio together to eat. My name is Ben, my.

Speaker 2 (04:16):
Name is Noel, And hey, hey, you you're losing.

Speaker 3 (04:20):
You're losing.

Speaker 2 (04:21):
You're losing, You're losing your vitamin C donuts.

Speaker 1 (04:24):
It's true, it's true, And at the end of this episode,
we hope that you can let us know whether it's
a good or bad thing to have lost them. Of course,
where would we be without our super producer Casey Pegram
And I want to ask them, where would we be
without donuts?

Speaker 2 (04:44):
We'd probably be leading happier, healthier lives, have lower blood pressure,
less diabetes, obesity would probably be diminished.

Speaker 3 (04:55):
I don't know. I think it'd be a pretty beautiful
world without donuts.

Speaker 1 (04:58):
Yeah, are you a fan of I just think it.

Speaker 2 (05:01):
Was Sure, they're good, they're they're delicious, but they're just
so decadent. It's like, can you think of a more
decadent treat? I mean, I'm sure you could if you tried,
it would probably involve slathering a donut with some kind
of pudding.

Speaker 1 (05:13):
I'm just not you know, I've just never been a
donut person. I don't have no just not a not
A claissant would be a little bit more on the
savory end. But it's strange because here in Atlanta, you know,
our office is down the street from a pretty well
known Krispy Kreme outlet, which rumor has it that Shack

(05:35):
actually owns now the Yeah, the one with.

Speaker 3 (05:38):
The sign like with the one with the old school sign.

Speaker 1 (05:40):
Yeah, apparently that is one of the many things in
the city owns. And then also, you and Casey and
I have witnessed over the past few years the rise
of the artisan donuts here in Atlanta, along with cupcakes.

Speaker 3 (05:55):
I mean, it's great.

Speaker 2 (05:55):
There's a place called Revolution Donuts that is fantastic. They
actually have a saved donut that I like that's got
like greere and like ham in it, and it's really good.
I honestly am more inclined to eat something like that.
I think I've lost my sweet tooth in addition to
my vitamin seat donuts.

Speaker 3 (06:11):
Oh really, Yeah, that's sad.

Speaker 1 (06:14):
So it's it's something that I think will on balance,
be better for both of us. Multiple studies indicate that
the average American eats way too much sugar, right, and
it's in so many foods that we consume. We should
point out that none of us. None of the three
of us are professional nutritionists, right, so whatever we say

(06:38):
is should not be taken as nutrition advice.

Speaker 3 (06:42):
I'm sort of an armchair nutritionist.

Speaker 2 (06:45):
I just sort of fling these whatever pops through my
head and just willy nilly because I think you need to.

Speaker 3 (06:52):
Eat more riboflavin.

Speaker 2 (06:53):
Band Just looking at you look a little peak and
I think riboflavian is what you need.

Speaker 1 (06:57):
Then, so everybody knows nol is pointing in the old
in the style of the old World War two Uncle
Sam poster, but instead the caption instead of we need
you for the US Army, it would be you need riboflavin.

Speaker 2 (07:11):
I'm also wearing a big, tall American flag hat right now.

Speaker 1 (07:14):
Which I think is cool, and I'm really proud of
you for stretching your wings in this new things. I
think this could be big. I don't know if it's
an everyday hat, because you want to be special.

Speaker 2 (07:23):
I did it for this episode. I was just trying
something out. But what is this episode about?

Speaker 1 (07:26):
So glad you asked, because this episode is about donuts,
a very specific type of donuts, and before we get
into that, we should just give a brief history of donuts.
Pretty common. I would be surprised if you have not
ever heard of a donut, and still somehow are listening

(07:46):
to podcasts on the internet. Food like doughnuts has been
around for centuries and centuries and centuries, and people tell
you the American version of the donut traces back to
Dutch settlers Dutch collars, right, and they didn't have that
familiar ring shape. You can find a mention of donut

(08:10):
in a book by Washington Irvine in eighteen oh nine,
a History of New York from the Beginning of the
World to the end of the Dutch Dynasty. But over
time they became a super convenient snack for Americans.

Speaker 3 (08:24):
Right.

Speaker 1 (08:24):
I'm both coast, and our story takes place in the
world of donuts, but also in the world of crazy advertising,
which is one of our favorite things. We're talking about
the moment where before the six million dollar Man happened,
some food manufacturers said, all right, donuts are great, but

(08:44):
what if we could also make them healthy? What if
we could build them stronger, faster. I can't remember the
rest of the six million dollar.

Speaker 3 (08:51):
Man thing faster, deeper, No, I don't know.

Speaker 1 (08:55):
I'm thinking of deaf punk.

Speaker 3 (08:56):
You are, I think I am too. That's all it
comes to mind there.

Speaker 2 (08:58):
Yeah, but it's like, you know, it's it's it's utter
flim flam, you know, and we're going to get to that.
But what if, ben, you know, what if you could
do that.

Speaker 3 (09:09):
That'd be cool, but you can't.

Speaker 2 (09:10):
So the next best thing is just to figure out
a way to convince people that it's a thing, and
then you know, it takes the burden of guilt off
of them for eating this trash food.

Speaker 3 (09:20):
Basically right right, exactly.

Speaker 1 (09:23):
Back in the early nineteen forties, the biggest donut maker
of the time, an outfit named, in a burst of creativity,
the Donut Corporation of America.

Speaker 3 (09:33):
Genius.

Speaker 1 (09:34):
Genius A little on the nose, someone say, but we're fans.
They tried pushing this product. They tried to do this thing,
and they created something called vitamin donuts.

Speaker 3 (09:46):
But what what what the heck?

Speaker 1 (09:48):
Man? What's a vitamin donut.

Speaker 2 (09:50):
It's a donut that is fortified.

Speaker 3 (09:55):
It is made with flour that is enriched with various vitamins,
synthesized vitamins, and it was a popular trend in general
at the time. Kellogg's even had a cereal called Pep
Cereal and companies like Libby's and Bird's Eye, which are

(10:15):
still around today. They sell like frozen pot pies and stuff.
We're all about this language of it being enriched, vitamin infused,
or whatever. There are different ways of putting it, and
there was a golden age for this nonsense.

Speaker 1 (10:30):
Absolutely, vitamin doughnuts specifically had diamine and it's vitamin B
three and iron. No riboflavin fortification that I can find,
which is a crime.

Speaker 2 (10:41):
Just that twitch I'm seeing in your eye. I feel
like magnesium maybe it would be the.

Speaker 1 (10:46):
Maybe it's magnesium and nola is absolutely correct. There was
a there was an advertising creeze to make you think
that product A was healthier or a smart investment due
to this extra nutritional bang you got.

Speaker 3 (11:04):
For your buck.

Speaker 1 (11:06):
You know what I thought of when we were looking
at some of this stuff off air was the cycle
of language and advertising. Like in the nineties, Remember everything
was what was it? Was it digital in the nineties.

Speaker 3 (11:19):
Sure, yeah, like the the indie glow watches and stuff.

Speaker 1 (11:23):
Like that, you know, or like organic in the early
two thousands and so maybe fortified was one of the
buzz terms of the forties.

Speaker 2 (11:33):
You know one from today and I to get too
far off topic, that I heard the other the other
day that really I think is totally accurate is things
that are like recyclable or like made from supposedly made
from recycled material, like water bottles. They say up to
thirty percent or forty percent. And in an interview on
NPR that I heard, the question was posed to like

(11:53):
a recycling expert, like does.

Speaker 3 (11:56):
That mean it could be like one percent?

Speaker 1 (11:58):
The answer is yes, oh boy, yeah, we have to
be careful with that language. I hadn't thought of that.
With recycling, I'm familiar with that. It's similar to like
a portion of the proceeds from this will be donated to,
you know, this amazing charity.

Speaker 2 (12:14):
But speaking of the ads you're talking about, these campaigns
were everywhere and the poster for Vitamin Donuts is delightful
and horrifying. It says vitamin big red letters surrounded by
these like hashtags of sparkling energy and then donuts.

Speaker 3 (12:29):
And then on either side are the most rosy cheeked
you know, just.

Speaker 2 (12:35):
Up and at them little tikes that you could ever imagine,
one of them holding a donut with a bite taken.

Speaker 3 (12:40):
Out of it. Their cheeks are blood red, and I
think that was meant to imply health and vitality. And
what's the catchphrase, ben.

Speaker 1 (12:48):
Oh gosh for pep and vigor. Each doughnut fortified with
a minimum of twenty five units of vitamin B one.

Speaker 3 (12:56):
Vitamin donuts gorge your way to health.

Speaker 1 (12:59):
Yeah, right. Look at the way that poor little girl
in the bottom left of the posters staring at those things.

Speaker 3 (13:06):
She wants them, she wants them. And the size is
all wrong too.

Speaker 2 (13:10):
The scale is really this perspective is very strange because
the donuts are kind of in the four and the
girl is sort of on the same visual plane, but
the donuts are like the size.

Speaker 3 (13:18):
Of her head. It's a very odd ad.

Speaker 2 (13:22):
This was a failure not just from the donut contingent,
but from other companies that tried it as well. And
that's because of the Nutrition Division of the US government's
War Food Administration.

Speaker 1 (13:34):
Right, m hmm, absolutely right, nol So, the Nutrition Division
of the War Food Administration had clout and it awarded
a seal of approval to companies when it approved their
nutrition claims. But the problem with the donuts was this.
The donuts were made with as As you had mentioned earlier,

(13:56):
Noel enriched white flower and this meant, according to the
boffins at the Nutrition Division, this meant that the doughnuts
themselves were not enriched with vitamins, only the flour they
were made from was enriched.

Speaker 2 (14:10):
See I picture them like instead of sprinkles, you have
horse pills. All your vitamins are just like, you know,
with a nice cream filling intermixed with you know, Flintstone's chewables.

Speaker 3 (14:24):
Which that doesn't sound half bad.

Speaker 1 (14:26):
I do a lot of people who ate Flintstones chewables
like candy, just for the taste.

Speaker 3 (14:31):
They're delightful.

Speaker 2 (14:32):
I'm not a fan of chalky things, but I like
gummy vitamins.

Speaker 1 (14:35):
Actually, i'm a fan of the guns.

Speaker 2 (14:37):
I eat those for fun. Once ode'd on vitamin C,
it was not a pretty pictus.

Speaker 1 (14:42):
Really, how old were you?

Speaker 3 (14:43):
It was like last week?

Speaker 1 (14:44):
Is that why you have that kind of I didn't
want to say anything to you.

Speaker 3 (14:49):
That's okay, that's what they say about me. That's a glow.

Speaker 1 (14:51):
Okay, Well, I'm glad you're I'm glad you're all right.
It's so it looks like I am a riboflavi In
Vampire and you are this citrusy door of vitamin C death.

Speaker 3 (15:02):
Well, yeah, it's like that.

Speaker 2 (15:04):
Character in the Superman movie with the nukes and stuff
who kind of was berthed from the sun and all
of a sudden started growing creepy fingernails and could shoot
fireballs out of his eyes. That was me when I
ate the whole jar of vitamin sea gummies. Not gonna
do that again.

Speaker 3 (15:18):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (15:18):
Yeah, we have to be careful because even though we
are taught often to associate vitamins with health and good decisions,
medically speaking, it is absolutely possible to have too much
of a good thing, and there are consequences to that.
But here's another thing about this enriched white flower. It

(15:39):
sounds great, and even today, in twenty eighteen years we
record this. If you're in the United States and you
go to your average grocery store, you're going to see
that quite a few food products that use flower use
enriched white flower. It's just the most common thing. But
it's not a superfood.

Speaker 2 (15:59):
No. It's sort of like figuring out how to turn
big parts into gelatine, you know. It's sort of like
making lemons into lemonade. It's just taking an unpleasant byproduct
or just something that was just happening anyway and figuring
out how to sell it, you know, put a bow
on it.

Speaker 3 (16:13):
That's what this whole. Hey, we've got this stuff we
already use and it's the cheapest product available and the
easiest natural path to making this stuff's let's call it
something cool as people think they're buying something different, right.

Speaker 1 (16:25):
So what do dietitians think of this stole? Like, what
are the experts saying about enriched flower?

Speaker 3 (16:32):
Yes, Sarah Glme, who is a pal of ours in
the office, wrote this article for How Stuff Forworks, Vitamin
donuts were a thing question of mark question mark I
added the second question mark.

Speaker 2 (16:41):
But she spoke to a dietitian from Birmingham, Alabama at
the Health and Wellness Center Saint Vincent's one nineteen and
she asked her about the efficacy of enriched flower and
this is how she responded. As much as I would
love for them to be healthy, she says, I really
wouldn't consider donuts made with enriched white flour a healthy

(17:03):
source of nutrients. Doughnuts are made using only refined white flower,
and these refined carbohydrates have been shown to be worse
for your health than saturated fat ouch.

Speaker 3 (17:14):
Oh.

Speaker 1 (17:14):
Also an editorial correction here on my part, the enriched
flower did contain riboflavord yes, as well as fulic acid.
So rest asshured everybody who is about to throw away
their collection of vintage vitamin donuts. So the Nutrition Division
wanted the Donut Corporation to call them not vitamin donuts,

(17:39):
but to call this product enriched flower donuts, which is
just not a sexy a name. What do you think?

Speaker 3 (17:46):
Absolutely not?

Speaker 2 (17:47):
I mean, it certainly does not fill my heart with vim,
vigor and pep.

Speaker 3 (17:52):
Right.

Speaker 1 (17:58):
And so even though the donor Nut Corporation lost the
battle regarding vitamin donuts with the Nutrition Division, the Donut
Corporation went on to do decades of business as donut advocates.
It's probably the best way to say it, almost like
a donut lobby. I don't want to get close to

(18:19):
calling them big donut, but I think that's a hilarious phrase.

Speaker 2 (18:22):
I mean, you say a big don and it makes
me think of that donut shop in La near the
airport with the big giant doughnut on the top.

Speaker 1 (18:28):
Oh yeah, yeah, it's called I you know what's fixed her?

Speaker 3 (18:31):
Though?

Speaker 1 (18:31):
I feel like I'm just gonna spend every trip to
La I have seen that donut shop and never going
in because I'm always in a hurry too from the airport.

Speaker 3 (18:41):
I mean, you're lucky if you get a chance to
stop it. In and Out Burger. That's true. That's true.

Speaker 1 (18:46):
And this is not related to anything. Did I tell
you I went to an in and out Burger for
the first time?

Speaker 3 (18:50):
No? You didn't? What you think?

Speaker 1 (18:52):
I you know? I at first I was a little
bit let down because there have been so much hype
about it. And then I tried the burger Burger is solid.

Speaker 3 (19:02):
It's really good.

Speaker 1 (19:02):
It's really good.

Speaker 3 (19:03):
It's good. It's got like a almost like a cinnamon
e vibe to it.

Speaker 2 (19:06):
There's something they put in the patties that like really
has an interesting, robust flavor.

Speaker 3 (19:11):
I'm a fan. Did you get an Animal Style?

Speaker 1 (19:13):
I did not. That's the way to go, That's what
I should have done. I think double double, double double
Animal Style. Hopefully I'll be back there again sometime. And
I'm all about Noel and I are both all about
exploring not just fast food, but any different local food
that we run across in our travels. Trash food, the
world over the world over. So for instance, this includes

(19:37):
things like Crown Burger and Utah Pals in East Tennessee,
which I still have to take you to if we
ever get get up around that way, in the hollers
and the cricks.

Speaker 2 (19:46):
I know we're off topic a little bit, but I
saw an article on Mental Flus today that was a
map showing what the most popular burger is in every state,
and you know what it is in most states?

Speaker 3 (19:56):
What is it? Five guys they took over, They really
really did.

Speaker 2 (20:00):
Only one was Burger King And then obviously the West
Coast is all in and out and what a Burger
reigned supreme in Texas and I think a couple of
the surrounding states. But five Guys was the champion.

Speaker 3 (20:12):
Wow. Time, I was surprised.

Speaker 1 (20:14):
It's pretty good, but I didn't know it was such
a force.

Speaker 2 (20:18):
And the ham I mean, it's it's a good equality burger.
We have around here a thing called cookout, which I
think is sort of a southern regional thing. Yeah, it's
pretty cool because you can you get a combo and
for your sides, you get to choose two sides. You
can choose a chicken casadia and chicken nuggets or double
chicken nuggets, or like a corn dog or two chicken
casadias or two corn dogs.

Speaker 3 (20:40):
It's really really good for your health.

Speaker 1 (20:41):
I have no idea how they make money.

Speaker 3 (20:43):
You got to order the trade. It's like four dollars too.

Speaker 2 (20:46):
Anyway, we digress, Ben, Let's say we wrapped this episode
up with a fun hodgepodge of some other abysmal food
failures and or misleading ad campaigns.

Speaker 1 (20:58):
I completely agree. How about you kick us off?

Speaker 2 (21:01):
Only because Casey mentioned it. McDonald's just had some pretty
hilarious food fails over the years. One was called the Mcafrica,
and this was a confection that was only available in
Southern Africa, and in a pr nightmare, McDonald pulled that

(21:24):
product because apparently calling something Mick in the.

Speaker 3 (21:28):
Whole country isn't bad form. Yeah, it looks like it's made.

Speaker 2 (21:32):
With just flatbread, and it looks like a like a
big Mac, but with like two pieces of flatbread.

Speaker 3 (21:36):
It doesn't look particularly appetizing. But the Mcafrica I always
think of it.

Speaker 1 (21:40):
We're talking about failed food products from fast food, I always.

Speaker 3 (21:44):
Think of the Hula Burger.

Speaker 1 (21:46):
The Hula Burger was also from McDonald's made by Ray
Kroc himself, the driving force behind McDonald's success, who always
had a million ideas.

Speaker 3 (21:59):
He was just throwing ideas left and right.

Speaker 1 (22:01):
They wanted to make a burger for Catholics who didn't
eat meat on Fridays, so instead of be for a
chicken patty, it had a grilled pineapple slice topped with cheese.
People hated it.

Speaker 2 (22:13):
Yeah, the picture of it that I see here, it's
obviously not a professional shot.

Speaker 3 (22:16):
But it looks. It looks like something. It looks like
a dead thing.

Speaker 1 (22:21):
Yeah, it looks.

Speaker 3 (22:22):
It looks bad.

Speaker 1 (22:23):
I mean, you can't blame the folks for trying. But
what about market research? You know? Did they just not
have that at that time?

Speaker 2 (22:30):
Yeah, well, you know, it probably wasn't as easy to
conduct as it is today. You'd had to go like
door to door or get people to fill.

Speaker 3 (22:35):
Stuff out, and no one wants to do that.

Speaker 2 (22:38):
We're not gonna harp on McDonald's and fast food. I
just wanted to mention those those are fun, ye, But
let's talk about some more campaigns. Remember ovaltine Oh yeah, yeah, yeah,
also fortified right, Yeah, it's like you know, malted powdered
drink you mix with your milk, and it, you know,
to be fair, contains quite a bit of fortification in
the form of calcium, folic acid, iron, zinc, are how, riboflavin, viamin,

(23:01):
vitamin B six, vitamin B twelve, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
And it is a legacy product in that same period
that we were talking about, but they seem to have
managed to continue to promote it as kind of a
healthful supplement type drink and people love the stuff.

Speaker 1 (23:19):
It is delicious, people love it, it is Its status
is a healthy beverage is controversial, but I think a
lot of people get it for nostalgic reasons as well.
You know, like Grandma always made Oval Team.

Speaker 2 (23:33):
It's an immediate like blast to your childhood when you
take a sip of it, and then you know, not
to mention.

Speaker 3 (23:38):
More Oval Team please, you know.

Speaker 2 (23:39):
Like it's pretty interesting when these companies build such strong
pr that goes so far back and they're able to
just kind of ride that snake to like perpetual ubiquity
in the public consciousness.

Speaker 3 (23:50):
Even though Oval teen you don't hear about it too much.
They don't like have ads all over the place, you know,
but yeah, it's definitely a thing. Also, not to mention, Ben,
I don't know if you've heard about this, but there
are stuff that are saying that vitamin supplements not as
big of a thing as we maybe used.

Speaker 1 (24:05):
To think, absolutely absolutely, because there's there are questions about
how much benefit they actually convey to your body, depending
upon the manner in which they are ingested or the
manner in which they are included in the manufacturing process.
Like vitamin water is a perfect example exactly.

Speaker 2 (24:24):
And again I think they are able to get away
with calling the product vitamin water because on the side
it does list a crap ton of additives that are,
you know, things you would find in multivitamin supplements. But
I think a lot of it has to do with like,
if you're deficient in something, your doctor can prescribe you
to take something that like, you know, gets you to
the levels you need to be. But if you're not

(24:45):
and you're just like loading yourself up with all these
different vitamins, is their benefit there? And there are studies
out there that seem to think there may even be harm.

Speaker 1 (24:53):
Right, especially when consider how much sugar comes along with
the deal. There's you know, there's a word of foods
and drinks that skirt just beneath the threshold of being
legally culpable for their claims, and advertisers do spend a
lot of time figuring out language that sounds good but

(25:13):
does not really promise something right, Like is there a
definition of natural? What is natural other than something that
sounds good on a box in the grocery store, and
even beyond that. This makes me wonder if vitamin water
is going to seem as silly in a few years

(25:34):
as vitamin donuts seem today, you know what I mean?
Like I can see future historians going, why don't you
just drink water and get a doctor to give you vitamins.

Speaker 3 (25:45):
Because it doesn't taste like dragon fruit? That's dough.

Speaker 2 (25:50):
Remember fifty cent He had a big steak in vitamin
water and there was that formula fifty flavor. Someone told
me that they thought that tasted like the way you
would think grape sweat would taste.

Speaker 3 (26:00):
That's so gross. Just leave that right there.

Speaker 1 (26:02):
Leave the Oh, speaking of drinks, we found some other failed,
like spectacularly failed beverages. Did you ever hear of pepsi?

Speaker 3 (26:12):
Am? Is it like breakfast pepsi? Yeah?

Speaker 1 (26:15):
I had never heard of this, so they thought, you
know what, people aren't really drinking soda in the morning,
so let's do exactly what you're describing. Let's get some
breakfast soda drinkers. And they introduced this thing in the
late eighties called pepsi am. It had all the sugar
and twice the caffeine of regular pepsi finally, right, it

(26:37):
lasted about a year.

Speaker 2 (26:38):
Well, speaking of soda, let's have some more fun. We're
talking about like more current.

Speaker 3 (26:44):
Things that fit in this fail model.

Speaker 2 (26:46):
But let's let's go back back back to the nineteen
fifties where there was a campaign for seven Up that
shows an infant downing a seven up.

Speaker 3 (26:56):
It says, why we have the youngest customers in the business.

Speaker 1 (27:01):
I think the captured there or the motto is something
seven up for.

Speaker 2 (27:04):
Babies exactly, and it says nothing does it like seven up?
And then it has a nice little recipe on the
side here, you know, for kids, a little trick that
makes a treat seven up in milk mix mixed chilled
seven up and cold milk and equal parts.

Speaker 3 (27:19):
By pouring the seven up gently into the milk.

Speaker 2 (27:22):
Do not stir the seven up, adds a light and
delicate flavor, making the delicious blended food drink.

Speaker 1 (27:30):
Food drink the villain laugh.

Speaker 3 (27:35):
You want to food drink, I don't know what that is.

Speaker 1 (27:38):
Food drink sounds like a terrible translation of a traditional
beverage Somewhere. It's like, oh, welcome, thank you for coming.
Now we will have the ritual exchange of food drink.
So we found so many strange advertisements that that clearly

(28:00):
would be illegal today, and then also food products that
even if we allow for hindsight, they still sound like
just horrifically bad ideas.

Speaker 2 (28:09):
And props to Hunter Oatman Stanford over at Collectors Weekly.
He made a list over there that we are pulling
from for some of these, and they're delightful.

Speaker 1 (28:18):
I want to point out that to go back to
fast food, just briefly, I want to point out that
Taco Bell deserves a metal for all the strange things
they've tried over the years. There was a most notably
I remember the Taco Bell seafood salad, which just sounds
like a terrible idea.

Speaker 2 (28:39):
Any notion of seafood from a fast food restaurant typically
is a red flag for me. Although I will occasionally
do a Captain D's, you know.

Speaker 3 (28:49):
Under duress at least that's all they do.

Speaker 2 (28:52):
It's not just an afterthought, you know what I mean,
Like the mc lobster right right back picking on the McDonald's.

Speaker 3 (28:58):
Yeah, they had a mclobster that was only in the
main area.

Speaker 2 (29:01):
But do you remember that I Love Lucy episode where
she gets the commercial for this thing called Vita meata veggamin.
It's very very popular and she's trying to do it,
and as it turns out, it's just chalk full of alcohol,
and every time she takes a swig of it, she
gets more and more plastered. And their slogan spoon your
way to health, and it's like totally clearly just chock

(29:23):
full of of straight booze. This one I found here
from the American Meat Institute from the fifties. It's just
a big old meat platter featured in the center and
then like nine hot dogs kind of like raining down
from the sky, and it.

Speaker 3 (29:38):
Says two delicious ways to help keep yourself trim. And
the copy here is very similar to what they were
making fun of in that Lucy sketch. In this hot weather,
do you feel tired, listless, all washed out? Don't blame
it all on the heat. Look at your diet too.
Scientific studies show it might well be due to a
lack of high quality protein, the kind you get in meat.

Speaker 1 (30:00):
And for long time listeners, if you've got to check
out the visuals on this ad, because they have what
looks like an aspick or meat jelly in the center
of the platter.

Speaker 3 (30:10):
Oh, I think you're right. I thought, you know what,
that's exactly what it is.

Speaker 2 (30:12):
At first I thought it was like a cheese you know,
like a Pimento cheese mountain or something like that.

Speaker 3 (30:17):
I think it is exactly that. Ben.

Speaker 1 (30:20):
We also found an ad that was for sugar, just sugar.
It says sugar might just be the willpower you need
to curb your appetite. Sugar's quick energy can be the
willpower you need to eat less. And it has close
up shots of people drinking soda and eating candy. And

(30:41):
this was part of a very large cover up that
we only recently learned about.

Speaker 3 (30:47):
And the woman in this picture on the left, she
looks terrifying and is drinking this soda in the most
unnatural way. It's like cocked off in this.

Speaker 2 (30:55):
Weird canted angle and it's like one of those paper straws,
and she is absolutely just chewing it. It's just clamped
between her teeth, and she's got this kind of wandering
eye thing going on, like she is just jacked on sugar.

Speaker 3 (31:06):
It's a very troubling image.

Speaker 1 (31:08):
Yeah, and check out how sketchy this one is too,
because these ads come from nineteen sixty nine and they
include advice like have a soft drink before your main meal,
or snack on some candy an hour before lunch. And
there's not a company name you can follow up by
mailing someone named sugar Information. Also, sugar Information sounds like

(31:30):
a pretty cool code name.

Speaker 2 (31:31):
Sure, it's like the sugar lobby, right that has reponsible
for this stuff.

Speaker 3 (31:35):
It has to be. Boy, is it weird enough for you?

Speaker 1 (31:39):
I'm feeling weird it out, man, I'm feeling like we
have we have not yet reached peak ridiculous advertising and
failed food campaigns. But I think this, I think we
should save the rest for another day.

Speaker 3 (31:54):
What do you say? I think that's why it's ben.

Speaker 1 (31:56):
So thank you so much for tuning in. If you
or someone you know had the fortune to try a
vitamin DONA, we'd like to hear about the taste, was
it different from a regular Dona? And what are your
favorite failed food crazes. We'd also, of course like to
think our author Sarah Glme and our super producer Casey Peckwein.

Speaker 2 (32:18):
And if I'm not mistaken, man, most of the flower
you buy today at the store is enriched flower. It's like,
there's nothing special about it. It's not magic vitamin flower.

Speaker 3 (32:28):
It's true, it's true.

Speaker 1 (32:29):
It's pretty much regular flower.

Speaker 2 (32:32):
Now, let us know Denny Baker's out there and let
us know how you feel about this stuff.

Speaker 3 (32:37):
Is it possible to make healthy baked goods? We're interested
right too, I said ridiculous at how stuffworks dot com.

Speaker 2 (32:43):
You can check us out on all the social media's Again,
I second my co host Ben and thanking our super
producer Casey and also Alex Williams, who composed Arth.

Speaker 1 (32:51):
The and most importantly you, so goodbye for now. We'll
talk to you very soon, and in the meantime, send
us all the weird ads you can find.

Speaker 3 (33:00):
Plea

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