Tag: 7-Up

When did we start labeling ingredients?

When did we start labeling ingredients?

A few weeks back I talked about the essay I was going to have to write for my Visual Communications class.

I’m sure if you follow my posts regularly you remember this one. My little laugh at the 1950s era advertising we could choose to analyze.

In that case I’m sure you also remember that I decided to go with this 7-Up ad.

Boy is it more and more beautiful every time I see it.

I bring up the subject again because I started to work on the actual paper itself yesterday evening and already the damn thing has taken me down a bizarre rabbit hole.

A rabbit hole that, in all honesty, is pretty interesting. If you ask me at least.

Here’s some more in-depth context before I get into that branch of my research. The content requirements for the essay are relatively straight forward. We simply have to examine the image we chose from the six perspectives that were elaborated in earlier in the semester:

  1. Personal — Our gut reactions to the image.
  2. Historical — How the context of the time shaped the image.
  3. Technical — What techniques and elements went into creating the image.
  4. Ethical — Would ethical philosophers find the creation or use of the image justified?
  5. Cultural — What symbols can be found in the image that relate it to the culture of the time.
  6. Critical — Taking a second, more objective look at the image now that all of the analysis isdone to see how thoughts and opinions might have changed.

My deep dive began as I broached into the historical aspects of the advertisement.

Most of the analysis was easy enough. The ad comes from the 1950s, so there was plenty to discuss as far as the post-war economic boom and opening stages of the Cold War went. Both contributed to the development of a middle class American ‘nuclear family’ that in many ways became dependent on purchasing power to show their status and connection to the mainstream culture.

What I looked into had nothing to do with that overall historical context. Instead it came from pinpointing a very specific part of the advertisement.

In the lower right-hand corner there’s a block of text which, among other things, tries to convince new parents to feed their babies a “wholesome” mix of 7-Up and milk.

More important to point out for my purposes is the section where the advertisers tell readers that they have all the ingredients in 7-Up listed on the bottle — despite the fact that it was not required.

When I read that I stared at the screen for a moment mulling things over. Were food labels not required in the 1950s? There was a Food and Drug Administration overlooking those matters at that point in time, wasn’t there?

It was a bit of a tangent, sure, but if I found the idea so interesting it seemed like a good research avenue to go down.

… Only in part because I needed a few more sources to fit the requirement and some U.S. government resources seemed official enough to justify using. I promise.

I found that, yes, the FDA did exist prior to the publication of this 7-Up advertisement. The FDA came into place alongside the passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act in 1906 according to the horse’s mouth.

However, labels on food like you see required today, with their widely enumerated requirements that are stipulated upon in this most recent FDA Food Labeling Guide from 2013, were not required until the passage of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA). Prior to that, listing things like ingredients and nutritional information of food product labels were purely voluntary.

So it seems like the 7-Up people were right in congratulating themselves for posting that kind of information on their product in the 1950s.

But in that case, just when did it become a requirement for everyone?

Diving a little deeper into the subject I came across this discussion of the history behind nutritional labeling on the National Center for Biotechnical Information’s website. As a subset of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, I figure they’re a pretty reputable source.

According to this source, the NLEA wasn’t officially passed until November 1990.

That’s almost 90 years after the FDA first came into being. It’s astounding to me that it took that long to get this kind of legislation passed!

Perhaps that’s hindsight bias in some respect. Food labels are so ubiquitous in the 21st century, and they’re the butt of so many jokes about GMOs and fake ingredients, that it’s hard to imagine a time they weren’t in use.

To think that time was just a few short decades ago…

Humans are pretty crazy, huh?

Hitting the books, hitting the sauce

I was a little lukewarm about writing something for the ol’ blog today. Pretty much my whole arc of experiences has included doing homework and recovering from staying up so late to watch the 18 inning Dodgers/Red Sox game last night.

Because yeah, I watch sports once in a while. Luckily I just happened to be watching a sport when a record-breaking game did its thing.

But even if I like baseball more than pretty much any other sport, I don’t think I can write about that for extended periods of time.

Pretty much why I’m not a sports writer.

In terms of homework, I did an assignment about infographics for my Visual Communications class, read a few pieces on the McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education court case for my Evolution and Creation class, sent out some emails to professors (alongside some work emails for Gladeo) and spent some time trying to come up with a title for my Honors project.

None of that felt particularly enlightening to write about here, though.

So my only other real option was possibly writing about the fact that I’m going to be getting an award real soon as I found out via Twitter and the Daily Titan advisor Bonnie yesterday.

Yet even there it doesn’t feel like the right time to go around and say ‘hey go check out the thing that’s getting an award.’ I’ll probably do that around the time when I actually go to an awards ceremony.

Assuming that’s a thing that will happen sometime soon.

With all those dead ends in mind, I took a break, ate some food, went to the gym and showered. As always, going to the gym seemed to spark some inspiration on what to write.

Guess I’m as much of a proponent of the gym being a good chance to relax and clear your thoughts as anyone now? For as weird as that is to say.

But to be fair, it wasn’t actually the exercise itself that brought about some inspiration. Rather it was the homework that I continued to do while I was power walking on a treadmill.

Because you know. I’m lame like that.

One assignment I’ve been pushing off is picking an image to examine for my Visual Comm class’s final paper. The professor gave us a pre-determined list so I had to pick something off of it. While looking through the list of images at the gym, I stumbled across this gem that will definitely be what I write my paper on:

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Just look at this 1950s 7-Up ad. It’s phenomenal. I’m not even sure where to begin talking about it.

Actually that’s not true, the obvious place to start is with the giant baby, an 11-month-old kid drinking a soda bottle as though it were milk. Not only is it a funny image, but it’s also a pretty striking one thanks to the color contrast.

Oh but that’s not all. I hope you read through the text on this sucker too, because if you did I’m sure you’ll see why I love it so much.

First off there’s an ad for a totally different T.V. show just slapped in next to the baby’s arm for some reason.

Then on the bottom-left corner, where the bottle is among a collection of other children’s toys, the advertisers recommend you “avoid imitations,” completely lacking the foresight to know that in the future everyone just calls everything of that nature Sprite anyway.

But most important is the larger block of text which advocates for, and I quote, “Add(ing) 7-Up to the (toddler’s) milk in equal parts” because it’s a “wholesome combination.”

That’s fucking astounding in just how genuine they are in advocating such a disgusting act for new mothers to immediately get their children hooked on shitty flavored carbonation water.

And I absolutely love it.

It’s just such a product of its time that I’m actually really looking forward to writing about the image for my essay. So much so that I thought it would be worth writing my blog post today about it so I can spread the gospel to you, my loving readers.

As an additional note, I did also want to point out that if I wasn’t picking the 7-Up ad, I would have gone with this ad for fancy ties:

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I don’t think I really need to say why. Just the idea that getting a nice tie is justification for obscene misogyny (and making your wife love that same misogyny because it’s a ‘man’s world’) is such a great little time capsule.

Plus there probably would have been a lot to say about exactly what the implications are when you have your wife get down on her knees for something as innocuous as handing off breakfast in bed.

Because come on, look at his face. You know what he’s thinking.

But I digress, because soda baby spoke to me way more and I’m going with it.


P.S. — Just consider this post an open call for any other crazy old ads that could never have been made today with this kind of 50s aesthetic, because I think they’re amazing and would love to see more. Kay? Thanks.