Life Saver gets tongue action.


Life Savers was invented in 1912 by Clarence Crane in Cleveland – a chocolate maker who wanted a non-melter for summer. He decided on a hard candy in the shape of a circle with a hole in the middle.

Since the mints looked like miniature life preservers, he called them Life Savers and registered the trademark….

The photo is a copy of an Andy Warhol silkscreen done in 1985. Little did I know (until I googled the ad) that this piece of 1970’s advertising had impacted the great Warhol.

The impact on me was profound. This ad (in it’s original form) is the first piece of advertising that I remember and still one of the best. I distinctly recall as a 7 year old living in Canada, picking up one of my parents magazines and being stunned by the copy line:

“Please do not lick this page!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME! I reached for the page anticipating the rush of my favourite candy only to be greeted by a wet and decidedly un-Life Saver taste.

Three key things happened.

First I was gutted that the manufacturers of this fine publication had NOT  gone to the trouble of putting the taste of Life Savers into the page. A cheap and deceitful act.

Second (and fairly quickly) it dawned on me that this was a clever piece of selling. I remember the “ah ha” moment as I quickly moved the page from tongue and glanced around to see if anyone had caught me.

Third a life long love of Life Savers developed from this seminal piece of advertising brilliance. Every trip to the States still involves the purchase of a good bundle of my favourites.

Clearly Andy saw something in it as well.


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