The Big Gulp

soda ad dr pepper boy 1960s

Sugar Shock

Sweet news for citizens of New York City!

The sugar Calvary has been called  in to save New Yorkers with a sweet tooth. A last-minute reprieve from a judge has rescued  the Big Gulp from going down the Big Apple drain.

 Starting Tuesday march 12, NYC  was  to have a lot less fizz as it prepared to bid a fond farewell to those super size sugary drinks

 As the rest of the U.S. remained submerged in a syrupy sea of over-sized, sugary soft drinks, New Yorker’s were to  have been be saved, pulled out of the drink by their health conscious Mayor.

 The first city in the nation to ban the sale of sugared beverages larger than 16 ounces, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was very close to getting his wish. In his on going campaign to cure obesity, any restaurant or shop was to have been fined $200 if it sold a sugary beverage larger than 16 ounces.

Super-sized Americans

beverages sodagirl 1950s

 The American Dream may have been downsized, but American’s ever expanding waistlines have clearly not been. Blame in no small part can go to our penchant for the super-sizing of our soft drinks.

 The “good cheer” of Coke has come under blistering attack for its empty calories contributing to the obesity epidemic, high rates of diabetes and other health issues.

Size Matters

Americans drink more soda than anyone else in the world.

 According to the National Soft Drink Association, consumption of soft drinks is now over 600 12 ounce servings per person per year.

But it’s the size that matters.

coke ad 1942

Coke has increased the size of their drinks from 6 1/2 ounces in the 1950s to the 20 ounce bottle of today.

McDonald’s and Burger King offer 20 ounce drinks with free refills. At movie theaters and convenience stores the most popular size is the 64 ounce Double Gulp.

Pause for  Refreshment

Coke soda fountain ads 1940s

Vintage Coca Cola Ads (L) !937 (R) 1948

Long before Americans began drinking 13.5 billion gallons of carbonated drinks every year, soda was once something enjoyed as an occasional treat in the confines of the local soda fountain shop. “Lots of good ideas start at the soda fountain,”  according to Coca Cola, “where friendly folks talk things over.”

Coke soda fountain 1946 illustration

Vintage illustration from 1946 Coca Cola Ad

“There’s always a welcome mat at your favorite soda fountain. This congenial club is as warm and American as an old-fashioned barbeque. Here  young people gather over a Coca Cola for happy recreation.”

You paused for your refreshment.

Have a Coke and a Smile

Coke ad shopping 1949

Vintage Coca Cola Ads (L) 1949 (R) 1949

By the late 1940s many soda fountains began offering an added convenience.

They stocked the handy 6 bottle carton of Coca Cola “so welcome by all the family. Enjoy a refreshing pause with a frosty Coke and prepare for 6 more like it at home.”

vintage Coke ads celebrations 1940s

Vintage Coca Cola Ads (L) Graduation 1946 (R) Happy Birthday 1945

Whether a graduation, holiday, or family get together a cooling cola would enliven the occasion.

Reward yourself with a Coke…the great day calls for the friendly pause “Graduation day is a big moment in any families life. Lets celebrate is the order of the day. So out comes frosty bottles of Coca Cola and the friendly pause begins.”

Any time is a Good Time

But the sugary stuff once marketed for special occasions soon became an every day experience.

Helped along by the new type of refrigerators with their freezing compartments which enabled you to have ice cubes always ready for beverages, the sale of home soft drinks rose, and everyone wanted to be part of the Pepsi Generation.

Vintage Pepsi Cola Ads 1950s teenagers

Vintage Pepsi Cola Ads 1951

beverages dr pepper ads illustration 1940s

Vintage Dr Pepper Ads (L) 1946 (R) 1945

Any time was a good time to break out a frosty bottle of ice-cold soda

Especially for those who think young.

It’s Good For You

vintage beverages ads canada dry soda 1930s

Unlike today when many nutritionists are saying soda poses risks to children’s health, in mid-century America soda was marketed as a wholesome refreshment for kids of all ages.

“Let the children have all they want,” advised one ad from Canada Dry Ginger Ale. “It’s wholesome and crystal pure.”

“Its gingervating,” the copy continued. “A sparkling glass of ginger ale cools you off to help pep you up…it’s a drink with a reason.” Morning ,noon or night was the right time for a carbonated beverage.

Of course it failed to mention that a 12 ounce serving of wholesome ginger ale has 31.84 gams of sugar which is equal t 8 teaspoons.

You Like It…It Likes You

Beverages 7up kids vintage ad

Before it was wet and wild, 7-up was the family drink so wholesome you could share it with the kiddies.

One 7-up ad proclaimed “so pure so good so wholesome for everyone including the tiniest of tots.”

beverages 7up ads family cheerful disposition

Keep Em’ Smiling -Vintage Soda Ads 7-up (L) 1948 (R) 1945

beverages 7up ads family kids 1950s

Vintage 7-Up ad (L) 1953 (R) 1951

It was never too early to get your toddler hooked on the sweet stuff.

Sugar Rush

vintage ad 1940s sugar dextrose

And why not… sugary soda was considered energizing goodness.

“You burn up  lot of energy in today’s fast pace…make sure you get it back…with sugar. A drink of sugar is like recharging your batteries.

Yup, there was no better way to get going than with good old dextrose

Like other food products, beverages were made better enriched with Dextrose sugar according to a series of ads run by the Corn Products Refining Company.

In the 1940’s a great deal of money in advertising was spent by the Corn Products Refining Company promoting the virtues of corn syrup, an inexpensive form of dextrose much favored by manufacturers.

 Just as today the Corn Refiners are trying to re-brand High Fructose Corn Syrup as “corn sugar,” so 70 years ago the Corn Products Refining Company was fighting a similar battle to have sugar derived from corn accepted as a wholesome, nutritious ingredient, superior to old fashioned cane or beet sugar.

 And they succeeded

vintage ads sugar dextrose soda

Vintage Ad for Dextrose in Soda – Corn Products Refining Company (L)1946 (R) 1948

Dextrose became the new wonder nutrient touted for its energy giving properties. It was not just an ingredient or sweetener, it enriched food with the energy of the sun.

“The fizzing flavor and fragrance of pure “soft drinks have captured Americas thirst to the tune of 40 million bottles a day-13 billion bottles a year”, the  copy to the 1946 Dextrose ad explained.

The key to its success?


“Such popularity must be explained. Water merely satisfies-soft drinks gratify the thirst; provide refreshment, natural stimulation positive nutrition.”

“Dextrose adds real quick acting food energy the kind that makes “refreshment” a fact-not a catch phrase. Many fine beverages are today enriched with Dextrose enjoy their true energizing goodness!”

Another  Dextrose ad from 1948 boasts:

“The key to energy! There’s nothing soft about soft drinks! Vigor abounds in every bottle! Deep down energy that sparkles with tempting wholesome goodness.

Americans of all ages enjoy soft drinks bountifully… to the tune of 50 million bottles a day!”

67  years later the average Americans now drinks 45 gallons of sugary drinks a year.

That’s progress

Copyright (©) 2013 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved



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