Thursday, September 22, 2011

When it Rains, it Pours

Copyright Morton Salt Company
Why is it that some things last and others don't?  In branding, this has got to be a maddening question for marketers.  Why is it that some brands are almost ubiquitous and others last a year, even with extensive market research and focus groups and test products?

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite brands - Morton Salt.  Here's a brand with staying power.  According to their Web site, it was 100 years ago this year that the slogan, "When it Rains, it Pours" came to be through a series of ads in Good Housekeeping (that's still around, too!).  They're STILL using the slogan and they're STILL using the girl!

When I was young, I was fascinated with the Morton Salt girl.  I can't remember how I knew that she had gone through various incarnations but I loved that fact.  Oddly, even though at first she went through a transformation every twelve years or so, she has remained the same my entire life.  The current Morton Salt girl was drawn the year I was born - 1968.

Morton is one of those names that everyone knows.  Talk about product saturation!  I'll bet that 90 out of every 100 households has a canister of Morton's in their pantry.  We don't even think about the fact that it doesn't cake up when we pour it, although that was a huge deal 100 years ago (just another of those small things we take for granted).  Brian's family has a history of heart disease so we don't cook with salt much; I'm not exaggerating when I say that our canister is likely to last us the next 20 years.  We just filled the shaker up last month for the first time since we were married in 2006!

But you still need salt around and Morton has the market cornered.  They've even gotten trendy and added sea salt to their arsenal of products.  They've diversified and also manufacture water softener salt, swimming pool salt, de-icing salt, meat-curing salt - you need salt, they've got a product for it.  GENIUS.


I love my Morton ephemera - so much so that I haven't been able to bring myself to use it in my art.  I found the pen cap at a recent estate sale and I think, judging by the font and the fact that it's "Morton's" and not just "Morton", it's from the 1930s. The little card (blotter?  Ad promo?) I got at the Fox River Antique Mall and I'm going to make an educated guess that these are from around the early 60s.




I wonder if Morton will be around in another 100 years?

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