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PEZ Advertising
December 10, 2009 5:21 AM   Subscribe

Sex sells PEZ. A visual survey of the "PEZgirl," as used in PEZ advertising. Slightly NSFW, as one image at the bottom of the page shows bare breasts. That's right, PEZ ran topless advertisements.

The best thing on the page might be the animated GIF at the top.
posted by OmieWise (28 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Lots of people don't realize, but originally PEZ wasn't competing with other candies and being aimed at children, it was competing with cigarettes and being aimed at adults. Haas (the inventor of PEZ) conceived of the idea of the dispenser and the little mints as something a gentleman could carry instead of a lighter, and offer to a lady. Hence the cigarette girl, hawking PEZ.


Now why the woman at the bottom with the Donald Duck dispenser has her shirt off, that is an entirely different proposition.
posted by paisley henosis at 5:36 AM on December 10, 2009


"Weiner Magazin" *snort*
posted by Artful Codger at 5:38 AM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


[witty remark]. Really though, that is sort of bizarre. Way to re-purpose the stuff as a candy. I'd never thought it was anything other than bricks.
posted by Peztopiary at 5:39 AM on December 10, 2009


Do you know who else first marketed an item to adults using sex before the item became associated with children?
posted by exogenous at 5:49 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Weiner Magazin" *snort*

That made me giggle in the same way. Does "weiner" have the same connotation in German that it does in English? Or is it just a magazine for guys from Vienna?
posted by Forktine at 5:54 AM on December 10, 2009


"Pez" comes from the beginning, middle, and end of "Pfefferminz," the German word for peppermint.

Pez beefcake ad.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:05 AM on December 10, 2009


Slightly NSFW, as one image at the bottom of the page shows bare breasts. That's right, PEZ ran topless advertisements."

Thanks for telling me where the tl;dr Cliff's Notes are!
posted by jckll at 6:10 AM on December 10, 2009


Aaargh, the comic sans! It burns!! I can't even hold out for the boobies!!!
posted by Jilder at 6:19 AM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


"led PEZ to design a dispenser that would make it just as stylish to whip out and eat a PEZ candy as it was to pull out a lighter to light a cigarette."

This made me laugh. Ooo la la! You and your sexy candy habit! Sadly by choosing plastic dispensers with big cartoon heads Pez missed the gilt-and-jeweled-snuffbox route to making the habit part of a well-accessorized outfit. Still, I suspect that by marketing throw-away toys to children, Pez ended up making more money than if they turned their mints into an adult fad.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:21 AM on December 10, 2009


Does "weiner" have the same connotation in German that it does in English?

Not as a penis euphimism. Although I believe Wiener (and Frankfurter) W├╝rstchen are widely known sausage varieties in German as they are in English.
posted by DLWM at 6:29 AM on December 10, 2009


Fascinating! They still kind of skirt the kids/adult market. I mean, most of the character dispensers are clearly aimed at kids, but the collectors editions I've seen are Elvis, the Beatles, Star Wars, etc, and the collectors I've met have been adults.
posted by arcticwoman at 6:43 AM on December 10, 2009


Secret Life of Gravy: Which is true. But the cartoon heads didn't come into existence until the company crossed over into the American market in the late 1950s. The "regular" dispenser marketed in the 30s was a plain metal or plastic box.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:45 AM on December 10, 2009


The page is interesting, but it's a bit offputting how much the writer sees sex in those images (example: She has a sexy smile and PEZ's trademark dark and sultry eyes). I don't think Pez ads were the first to feature dark and sultry eyes, and I somehow doubt that the European art world ever called this image a "Mona Lisa in enamel". In fact, searching for that specific term comes up with that one page.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:53 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sex sells just about anything, really.

As far as Haaz's attempts to sell to the adult market as a replacement for cigarettes, I kinda wish it worked long term. I have a friend who smokes too often, and he would probably jump on a stylish pez dispenser that looked like a fancy lighter.

Especially if it looked like a Zippo! XD
posted by stevemkuro at 6:58 AM on December 10, 2009


Well, I can't view this at work but as someone whose collection of PEZ dispensers is getting pretty close to 1000 I just have to comment.

In the mid to late 90's PEZ actually tried to return to the adult market (rather than the collector market) with a series of very simple dispensers. Rather than featuring a character head they were shaped very similar to this dispenser from the 50's. The head was more square and had grooves for the thumb. This dispenser, if I remember correctly, was also sold with peppermint PEZ rather than candy PEZ. I can't find a picture online so when I get home I'll try to take a picture of the dispenser and package.
posted by Loto at 6:59 AM on December 10, 2009


[Not surprisingly] the topless image is the least interesting and successful ad on the entire page.
posted by unSane at 7:10 AM on December 10, 2009


It's a bit less surprising after seeing that the topless ad was in a German magazine. When I was living in Chicago during my teens near an old German neighborhood, I was shocked (and, of course, titillated) to see a topless photo on the cover of a German magazine--Stern, I think--at my local public library. (If you scroll down the page at the above link, you'll see a link to a "Sexy Fotosession", which requires slim to nil translation, I think.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:20 AM on December 10, 2009


"Weiner Magazin" *snort*

Good. I'm not the only one. /12
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:35 AM on December 10, 2009


About halfway down the page, are those ads meant to be subliminal, with the PEZ girl holding a dispenser-shaped-as-penis near her mouth?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:46 AM on December 10, 2009


I thought the word was "subliminable".
posted by Daddy-O at 9:22 AM on December 10, 2009


Comic Sans, boobs, candy, and the German language. This is bringing back the strangest memories of my early adolescence.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 10:06 AM on December 10, 2009


I'm pretty sure you guys mean "sublime."
posted by rokusan at 11:17 AM on December 10, 2009


The best thing on the page might be the animated GIF at the top.

Disappointing. After the NFSW tag, I was expecting some sort of deep-throated candy action.

Deep-throated spring-loaded candy action.
posted by rokusan at 11:19 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah well, PEZ also used religion!
posted by jeffburdges at 11:49 AM on December 10, 2009


Am I the only one who used the dispenser for ejecting a maximum of two Pez's before I pulled it open and dumped all the rest into my mouth at once?

If that is the case, then surely I cannot be the only one who expected a brick size Pez to emerge from the middle of that bimbo's chest when she lifted up her shirt.
posted by digsrus at 12:18 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Haas (the inventor of PEZ) conceived of the idea of the dispenser and the little mints as something a gentleman could carry instead of a lighter, and offer to a lady. Hence the cigarette girl, hawking PEZ.

When I was a child, we instinctively understood that connection. It was pretty common practice to offer Pez by mimicking the mannerisms of a male romantic lead in a black & white movie offering the female lead a light: you'd flourish your Pez dispenser, raise an eyebrow suggestively, flick open the dispenser, and smoothly offer "Pez?"

The little candy bricks were never the point of the Pez in my social circle; it was all about the dispenser, and specifically about the moment when you got to flick open the lid and offer someone a Pez.
posted by Elsa at 2:13 PM on December 10, 2009


I was going to use my Ask Mefi to find out where I can buy PEZ in bulk online. Anyone?
posted by rbf1138 at 6:39 PM on December 10, 2009


If you are ever in the Bay Area, be sure to visit the Pez Museum. Despite the website picture, it is really a small room, packed to the gills with historical Pez, along with lots of old toys and games. The 'tour' of this small room is lead by this tall, jolly, very informed guy.

What I remember: Pez once came out with a dispenser shaped like a gun that shot the Pez into your mouth (or throat, depending on how you aimed, which is why it didn't last so long).

And the big debate is whether eBay was started because of Pez. The story goes that the eBay founder created a website to handle his girlfriend's (now wife's) Pez trading and collecting hobby, and it grew from there. Now it is considered debunked--that it was a story pushed by Ebay marketing.

Yet I once read an interview with the wife where she said that she was a professional and was insulted to be considered the little girlfriend collecting Pez while her boyfriend is doing all the work.

What I took from the interview is that the story is probably true, but that the eBay founder's family life would go a lot more smoothly if he denied it and claimed it was all just a marketing scheme, and so it conveniently was turned into an 'Urban Myth'. That's my theory, and its mine.
posted by eye of newt at 9:49 PM on December 10, 2009


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