Ipana

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Ipana /ˈpænə/ was the name of a popular toothpaste product manufactured by Bristol-Myers Company. The wintergreen flavored toothpaste (0.243% sodium fluoride was its active ingredient) reached its peak market penetration during the 1950s in North America. Marketing of Ipana used a Disney-created mascot named Bucky Beaver in the 1950s.

Ipana was first introduced in 1901 by the Bristol-Myers Company of New York. Ipana was an early and large sponsor on United States radio broadcasts starting in 1923 with the program The Ipana Troubadors. In the 1950s, Bristol-Myers saturated women's periodicals with a broad based monthly ad placement campaign for Ipana. Magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens, True Stories and McCalls were targeted to cover the broad range of women's interests; however, the campaign all but ignored men's magazines, and this weakened the brand by leaning perceptions that Ipana was a product for women and children.

Sales of Ipana declined throughout the 1960s, and by the early 1970s due to increased marketing efforts from Bristol-Myers competitors Procter & Gamble, Colgate, and others. Color television was increasing in popularity, and Bristol-Myers was uninterested in investing in color television programming, and found that manufacturing pharmaceuticals was more lucrative; many of its basic care products were withdrawn from the market.

By the late 1970s, Ipana was discontinued entirely in the United States, but was sold elsewhere in the world. In 1986, a new gel version of Ipana containing two fluorides was introduced in Turkey.[1] In 2005, River West Brands, a Chicago-based brand revitalization company, re-introduced Ipana into the U.S. marketplace. At present, the Ipana brand is a leading toothpaste in Turkey.

River West Brands divested itself of Ipana in October 2009. River West sold the Ipana brand and related IP to Maxill Inc. of Canada. Maxill, one of the top three selling toothbrush makers in Canada, brought Ipana back to life in early 2011 as a "retro brand" in the professional dental market, where Maxill had come to dominate the oral hygiene category.

Bucky Beaver (voiced by Jimmie Dodd) was the marketing icon and mascot of Ipana commercials from the 1950s. Bucky Beaver's slogan was "Brusha... Brusha... Brusha. Get the New Ipana - it's dandy for your teeth!" Mr. Decay Germ was the villain in the Ipana Toothpaste commercials. In the commercials, Bucky Beaver told him, "Mr. Decay Germ, stay away from me. I'm sick and tired of cavities. Go bother someone else now."

In popular culture[edit]

Under the name Frances Westcott, Frances Bergen, wife of the famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and mother of actress Candice Bergen, worked for the influential Powers Modelling Agency and her face appeared as "the Ipana Girl" in toothpaste ads in magazines.[2]

Before becoming a revolutionary beat poet and counterculture icon, Allen Ginsberg worked on the "Brusha, brusha, brusha" campaign as a market researcher.[3]

In the 1973 movie Paper Moon, Ryan O'Neal's character is seen purchasing a tube of Ipana toothpaste.

The product's jingle was sung by Jamie Donnelly (playing the role of Jan) in the 1978 film Grease.

In the 1999 movie Blast from the Past, Eve (played by Alicia Silverstone) realizes that Adam (Brendan Fraser) really has been living in a fallout shelter since the '60s when she finds a new tube of Ipana toothpaste in his suitcase.

The brand was featured in a montage from the 2012 Tim Burton film, Dark Shadows, in which Barnabas Collins (played by Johnny Depp) is brushing his teeth in front of a mirror absent of his reflection. On a bathroom shelf over his right shoulder is the packaging for Ipana.

References[edit]

  1. ^ European New Product Report. (November 21, 1986) "Gel formulation of Ipana toothpaste introduced in Turkey".
  2. ^ Globe and Mail (October 18, 2006) Frances Bergen, Actress and Homemaker: 1922-2006. Section: Obituaries; Page S9.
  3. ^ Watson, Steven, "The Birth of the Beat Generation: Visionaries, Rebels, and Hipsters, 1944-1960," Pantheon Books, 1995, p.119.

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