Ayds (pronounced as "aids") was an appetite-suppressant candy which enjoyed strong sales in the 1970s and early 1980s and was originally manufactured by The Campana Company. It was available in chocolate, chocolate mint, butterscotch, and caramel flavors, and later a peanut butter flavor was introduced. The original packaging used the phrase "Ayds Reducing Plan vitamin and mineral Candy"; a later version used the phrase "appetite suppressant candy". The active ingredient was originally benzocaine, presumably to reduce the sense of taste to reduce eating, later changed in the candy as reported by the New York Times to phenylpropanolamine.
By the mid-1980s, public awareness of the disease AIDS caused problems for the brand due to the phonetic similarity of names. While initially sales were not affected, by 1988 the chair of Dep Corporation announced that the company was seeking a new name because sales had dropped as much as 50% due to publicity about the disease. While the product's name was changed to Diet Ayds (Aydslim in Britain), it was eventually withdrawn from the market.
The product was originally introduced by the Carlay Company of Chicago. A U.S. trademark was registered in 1946 claiming first use in commerce was in 1937. In 1944 the US Federal Trade Commission objected to the claim that the product could cause the user to "lose up to 10 pounds in 5 days, without dieting or exercising". The Carlay Company later became a division of Campana Corporation of Batavia, Illinois. Then Campana bought Allied Laboratories of Kansas City in 1956; thereafter, Campana was bought by Dow Chemical and its president, Irving Willard Crull was briefly president of Dow (less than six months) and he engineered the sale of Campana to Purex in the 1960s; again becoming president of Campana while serving as a vice president of Purex, which allowed Campana to function as a separate division. Crull also relied on socialite and Hollywood friends like Bob Hope and his wife Dolores Hope, Tyrone Power and his wife Linda Christian, and others to promote the Ayds line. In 1981, Purex sold the rights to the Ayds name to Jeffrey Martin Inc. In 1987, Jeffrey Martin, Inc. and its product line (including Ayds Appetite Suppressant and Compoz Sleep Aid) were acquired by the Dep Corporation (sometimes written DEP).
- Beverly J. McCabe, Jonathan James Wolfe, Eric H. Frankel (2003). Handbook of Food-drug Interactions. CRC Press. p. 234. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
- Lindsey Gruson (1982-02-13). "A Controversy Over Widely Sold Diet Pills". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
- Associated Press, in New York Times March 4 1988
- USPTO.gov. Latest Status Info: AYDS. Accessed on June 2, 2009.
- FTC: Advertising Cases Involving Weight-Loss Products and Services 1924-1997
- Batavia Industries
- As Cosmopolitan pointed out in November 1956, Crull already had a number of socialite and Hollywood friends who were willing to live with [?] his perfumes and who were tapped for the Ayds weight-loss regimen. Among them were celebrities Joan Caulfield, Donna Atwood, Arthur Godfrey, Ann Sheridan, Virginia Bruce, Patrica Harrel, Yvonne DeCarlo, Alexis Smith, Steve Allen, Hedy Lamarr, Paulette Goddard, Corinne Calvert, Sonja Henie, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and the Morgan Twins (Thelma Morgan Furness and Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt) to whom Crull was related through his maternal grandmother