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Old General Foods Ads

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    Posted: 16 May 2008 at 1:18pm

As recently as the 1980s, General Foods was on the cusp of being the premier food company in America.  But when GF dropped the ball on Frito-Lay (which it owned in Canada thanks to a partnership with PepsiCo), the company became absorbed by Kraft Foods, which would later acquire Nabisco.  Kraft has now sold Post Cereals to Ralcorp Holdings and is looking to unload Maxwell House as well. 

Another factor in the demise of General Foods was its restaurant operations, particularly Burger Chef and Rax Roast Beef.  When the GF shareholders realized they can't sell fast food as well as grocery products, they unloaded Burger Chef to Hardee's.  Rax has since been discontinued, as Arby's is now the undisputed king of fast-food roast beef. 
 
Some of the classic General Foods ads were the Fifth Dimension (and later, Bill Cosby) for Jell-O; Andy Griffith, Don Knotts and nature legend Euell Gibbons for Grape Nuts; Post's Pink Panther Flakes; and the Looney Tunes tandem of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck for Tang--the drink of space pioneers!   Who can forget Marcus Welby for Sanka?  It's probably just as well General Foods DIDN'T acquire Frito-Lay and its notorious Frito Bandito. 

Unfortunately, one General Foods product that was not advertised very often was Postum, which Kraft Foods discontinued this year, much to the consternation of Mormons who loved drinking the coffee substitute as well as historians who recognized Postum as the product that launched General Foods in the first place. 

Very few company logos catch the eyes of consumers as well as the ones created by General Foods.  When you saw one of those logos, you knew you were getting a trusted product.  In the 1950's, there was a blue TV-like box with "GF" in white letters.  This would be followed in the next decade by the spoon-bowl-cup logo that was parodied in Mad Magazine, to be succeeded by the longest-standing one of them all--the rectangle with the little dots, which would appear until 1985.  The final GF logo, retired in 1990, looked like something out of a science fiction horror movie, with a green leaf enveloped by a black G.   

What are some of your favorite General Foods memories? 

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Every Saturday morning on CBS from the early '70s through mid 80s...
'In The News...sponsored by the many fine products of General Foods.'
I think 'In The News' was discontinued once GF became part of Kraft. Hard to think of one without the other!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8 Track Single Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2008 at 4:27am
Here's one ad campaign General Foods missed out on:  Homer Simpson doing Grape Nuts!  Imagine the footage of Homer being attacked by those ferocious animals in that classic Season One episode, "Call Of The Simpsons"--and the announcer inserting the tag at the end:  GRAPE NUTS--IT'S NATURE MADE SIMPLE!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote smittykins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2008 at 9:06pm
Originally posted by BrianO BrianO wrote:

Every Saturday morning on CBS from the early '70s through mid 80s...
'In The News...sponsored by the many fine products of General Foods.'
I think 'In The News' was discontinued once GF became part of Kraft. Hard to think of one without the other!
 
Or Schoolhouse Rock. "...brought to you by your very favorite general, General Foods."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrianO Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2008 at 12:25am
See, I don't remember that! By the time I was watching cartoons, 'Schoolhouse Rock' must have had another sponsor, and the GF ads were only on CBS...with Christopher Glenn.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8 Track Single Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 May 2008 at 2:28am
Originally posted by smittykins smittykins wrote:

Originally posted by BrianO BrianO wrote:

Every Saturday morning on CBS from the early '70s through mid 80s...
'In The News...sponsored by the many fine products of General Foods.'
I think 'In The News' was discontinued once GF became part of Kraft. Hard to think of one without the other!
 
Or Schoolhouse Rock. "...brought to you by your very favorite general, General Foods."
 
General Foods sponsored a whole slew of programming, from Andy Griffith Show, Falcon Crest, Hot Fudge, Remington Steele and Canadian import Check It Out to soap operas such as Young And The Restless and As The World Turns as well as the Gone With The Wind miniseries and even sports programming on Raycom Network. 
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