The Pet Rock and other Favorite 70′s Brands

Today is my birthday.

Rather than focus on the fact that I am another year older, and freaking out about the passage of time etc. – I’ve decided to focus on the brands of my youth- some of which I miss.

As a child growing up in the 70’s, I remember a lot of iconic brands- many of which are no longer with us.

Check out Retroland.com and search under the 70′s in case you miss some of them too.

I have distinct images of myself in front of the bathroom mirror singing into my hair brush or accepting my academy award (thanking my mother of course).

I probably also thanked product sponsors and gave them a shout out for for making me look so beautiful and glamorous.

Top on my list were:

“Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific” Shampoo (the best name ever)

Herbal Essences (who could forget that green bottle and distinct smell?)


Body on Tap shampoo with real beer- I couldn’t believe how risqué that was!

This was when I still had long hair and wing a la Farrah, before I got my horrible Dorothy Hamill cut! Ugh, not a good look for many of us.

Love’s Baby Soft perfume (before I graduated to the more sophisticated scent and image of Charlie)

I probably had Rick Springfield and “Jessie’s Girl” blaring from my boom box, or perhaps my Sony Walkman.

(Sorry Justin Bieber and Nick Jonas but Rick was a real teen idol).

I may also have been pretending to bang my tambourine like my other favorite idol Laurie Partridge of  Partridge Family fame.

Or perhaps I was spinning around like Marcia Brady imitating her groovy moves from  that famous “Silver Platters” episode.

(A bit of a digression…but let’s give homaage to “Oh my nose” another classic episode).

How I miss those days.

It was a formative period of my life and the beginning of my interest in new product innovation.

In fact, it was during this time that I actually invented the Pet Rock.

In case you haven’t heard this story…

When I was a bit younger (early 70’s) I went into the garden, got a rock, put it in a Cool Whip container with a few blades of grass for nourishment, poked a few holes in the lid (so it could breath) and…voila instant Pet Rock.

Except this was before the craze had hit. So my parents looked at me kind of funny.

Until a few year’s later when the commercial version hit the shelves in 1975 introduced by Gary Dahl.
But after this Pet Rock episode, my parents started to take my marketing ideas a bit more seriously…and the rest, as they say, is history.

Boy, I miss that decade…although not the braces, wide whale corduroys, and of course the awful Dorothy Hamill bowl hair.

What’s your twist?

What are your favorite brands of the 70’s?

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15 thoughts on “The Pet Rock and other Favorite 70′s Brands

  1. Happy Birthday, Julie!

    Your post jostled loose a few dusty memories…
    Slinky, Click Clacks, Robert the Robot, Jade East, Canoe

    Free Design — “Kites are fun”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJEa0YYv1Yo&feature=related

    and, a pet rock idea — “The Central Park Dog Stick”
    gather the lose sticks in Central Park, package them up, and sell them to tourists who want to bring home a taste of NY for their dogs – available in small, medium, and large!

    Thanks for the memories.

    Robert

  2. Love’s Baby Soft. Jean Nate. Chik N’Biskit Crackers. Long & Silky shampoo–mine wasn’t and I felt so left out. But it was the music that left the biggest imprint on me.

    But I am grateful for shows like “Mad Men” to remind me of the realities of the time that as a child I didn’t realize or have context for. Looking back through the eyes of a child is always more comforting. Times seemed simpler and better then, but they weren’t. We were children. we only perceive them to be. This very phenomena can be powerful to tap into as marketers. I wonder what current brands will be nostalgic for today’s children?

  3. Remember those “Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific” commercials? Guys in offices going up to secretaries and taking a deep whiff of their noggins? Imagine the HR issues today. These things are indeed time capsules.

    Anyone remember the Levi’s commercials featuring the yodeling “Mule Skinner Blues” tune? Or “Libby Libby Libby on the label label label?” Or “I am the Frito Bandito…” The jingles really stick with me. Not a lot of jingles these days, just licensed pop songs.

  4. I remember being slightly confused by the Irish Spring commercials where the woman would use the soap and insist: “Manly yes, but I like it, too.” Also, Prell. I could never get the bubble to rise in the bottle like they did in the ads.

  5. Happy Birthday!

    When I think of the 70′s I think of British kids TV.

    All the shows were obviously made by acid head art hippies just graduating from the late 60′s

    The Magic Round About
    Ludvig
    The Flumps
    Charlton and the Wheelies
    Bagpuss
    Moomins

    They’d never air these days – way too weird – but as a kid, very entertaining.

    As far as products:

    Star Wars
    Lego (space)
    The first handheld games – Grandstand’s Mini Munch Man :)

  6. @Matt. I totally agree about the jingles. I have so many favorites from childhood (Honeycomb, Oscar Mayer, Kool-Aid), I don’t understand why that has become an abandoned art form. So powerful and ownable!
    Thanks for commenting.

  7. @Philg I always wondered too about the name Irish Spring – what is that exactly. And do you really need to smell good in the land of the cable knit sweaters? So many layers. Thanks for stirring up those memories. So fun.

  8. @Floyd I remember not getting up for days when we got a home version of Pacman and thinking that Pong was so advanced. I can only imagine what my son would think of it now. Thanks for the comment.

  9. @Debby I remember Long and Silky! How I craved that hair. Is that the one that was originally created for horse’s manes, or did it just seem that way from the ads?

  10. Happy birthday!
    Joyeux anniversaire!
    Tanjobi omedeto! (Japanese)
    Aàangyaht faailohk! (Cantonese)
    Feliz cumpleaño! (Spanish)
    Hronia polla! (Greek)
    Ad günün mübarək! (Azerbaijani)

  11. yes, Free Design was a real group, capturing the uplifting spirits of the 60′s. my brother may still have a vinyl album or two. audio nectar for the “leave it to Beaver” peoples of the day — suburban sprawling boomers. it’s sweet music. that just now moved me to check out “Fifth Dimension” for some reason.

    while waxing nostalgic, does anyone want to remember programming that featured some of the tv ads cited above?
    Captain Kangeroo, Bozo, Lassie, Flicka, Flipper, Abbott & Costello, 3 Stooges, Superman, Batman & Robin, Fury, Sky King,…

    come on… what were you watching after school and weekends?

  12. I was in love with the Coty smudge POT. Do you remember it? It was a little crock pot full of blush. I thought then what a great package design and my first exposure to the power of how packaging can force purchase.