Products that are no longer advertised on TV

When I was a kid growing up in the 1970s, it seems the most famous (or at least distinctive to my brain) TV commercials were the various canned tuna commercials (Starkist, Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea), hot dog commercials (Hot dogs, Armour hot dogs/what kind of kids eat Armour hot dogs), bologna (cuz Oscar Mayer has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A) and all manner of ads for dish detergent (both liquid hand dishsoap and dry dishmachine detergent).

Our family television broke in 1976, when I was 10 years old, and my parents elected to not replace or repair it (on the principle that we spent too much time staring at the TV instead of talking to each other; without a TV we would talk more, an idea that completely backfired, but that’s another thread) so I essentially grew up without TV.

I didn’t regularly watch TV again until the 1990s, when I was in my mid-20s and had my own apartment and TV. Nowadays I really don’t watch TV at all (don’t even own one now), but I see it occasionally at other people’s homes. One thing I started to notice after a while was that there didn’t seem to be any commercials for the aforementioned products. The first explanation/theory that comes to my mind is that these were all relatively new products in the 1970s. For the meats, I mean the “packaged, branded” versions (I’m obviously aware that tuna, hot dogs, and bologna predate the 1970s). If I’m guessing correctly, you used to have to go to the butcher shop/meat department and ask for tuna/hot dogs/bologna, and either slice the bologna yourself or ask the butcher to slice it for you. There was no “branding” per se. So what was being advertised on TV was the “conveniently-packaged” (and “pre-sliced”, in the case of bologna) aspect, which was the “new thing” with competing brands.

By the 1990s, the general public was familiar with the concept, and there was no longer a need to hammer us with full-blown ad campaigns.

Older-than-me Dopers, I’m I guessing correctly? Were these products indeed “new” in the early '70s? And what was up with the dishsoap ads? I know Palmolive has been around forever. Was there an explosion of competing dishsoap brands in the 1970s?

OTOH, I’ve noticed that the number of shampoo commercials hasn’t really decreased. It’s just that the “hot” brands I remember being advertised when I was a kid are now the brands you find on the bottom shelf with the lowest prices (Alberto VO5!)

Cigarettes. The Marlboro Man has ridden off into the sunset for good.

WAG: Combination of selection bias and differences in TV.

FWIW, I still see a few Starkist and Oscar Meyer commercials. They’re not as prevalent, but there are also hundreds of channels now, as opposed to a few broadcast channels.

Also, ads are more highly targeted. These days, most people watch at least basic cable. A TV show or channel focused on 18-49 year old men won’t feature so many shampoo commercials but might show a bunch of beer commercials. You don’t have to worry so much about appealing to the entire family.

Also, advertising changes by time of day. I was stuck home one day and struck by the huge volume of ads that were targeted specifically at housewives, including personal beauty products, cleaning supplies, and stuff you’d find at grocery stores.

I don’t see many Geritol ads anymore.

Back in the '50s, I remember a lot of commercials for personal hygiene products. Soap, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo. Also, dish detergent, laundry detergent. And appliances like washing machines and refrigerators. And oh yes, cigarettes.

A lot of this targeted housewives, who were a much larger audience back then.

Disclaimer: I’ve worked in marketing, advertising, and market research for longer than I care to admit. :wink:

I agree with Great Antibob. Those categories of products still do advertise (and even some on TV), but TV advertising no longer necessarily means “a prime-time or daytime buy on the Big Three networks”. With the profusion of cable channels, advertisers have been able to become far more selective in where they run their ads (in order to better reach their intended targets, while minimizing the number of viewers who don’t care about the products).

Based on the product categories you mentioned being “invisible” to you now (hot dogs, lunch meat, dishwashing detergent, tuna), I’m guessing that, today, you don’t watch much daytime TV, or channels oriented towards women of childbearing age. Spend a few hours watching OWN, or Lifetime, and you’ll see a very different set of advertisers. :slight_smile:

When I was watching TV in the 1990s (at least from '91-'96), most of what I watched was still on the major broadcast networks - ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox. I only had cable for a portion of that time, and even then it was only the most basic of “basic” cable, mainly to let me watch the major networks with a clear picture because antenna reception was so spotty where I live. And I watched at all hours of the day, depending on what shift I was working - during that stretch of years I had jobs as a breakfast cook, a dinner cook, and a 24-hour restaurant graveyard cook.

And took the Frito Bandito with him.

You don’t see the laxative commercials like you used to, nor the hilariously vague ones for feminine hygiene products.

Has Mr. Whipple moved to the retirement home? Haven’t seen him in ages.

But that’s not really in the same category as the other products mentioned, since there are legal reasons why cigarette ads disappeared from TV.

Right, I’m talking about products they simply seem to have stopped advertising. Many years ago, I was talking to a woman who was in college working on a marketing degree, and she mentioned that there are a lot of the big, “standard” companies that have been around forever that don’t advertise much because they don’t need to - everybody who needs to know about them already knows about them. Then she said you can tell when one of these companies starts having trouble, because they’ll suddenly start advertising like crazy. At that time, Hewlett-Packard was the company that was doing that.

So I just wondered if these products are like those companies - everybody knows them, so no need for major ad campaigns. I know I can’t remember seeing a major brand of canned tuna that wasn’t Starkist, Bumble Bee, or Chicken of the Sea in my lifetime - it’s still the same three brands I saw advertised when I was a kid, plus the “store brand”. Same with bologna/hot dogs. Same brands I’ve seen all my life, plus “store brand”.

Sadly, Mr. Whipple passed away in 2007.

Must’ve had one squeeze too many.

The ability of advertisers to target audiences is amazing. I read columns about movie box office that routinely mention how heavily advertised a movie was, and yet I never saw a single ad for it. Not in the target demo.

If you watched certain types of programs at certain times way back when, and different programs at different times now, you are not likely to see many products in common.

A small memory dump:

“Serutan spelled backwards spells Nature’s.”

“This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.”

He’s been replaced by those damn bears that suffer from cling-ons and keep Charmin on a roll by the tree.

A couple of things that I haven’t seen advertised for a while (I think): movie theatres and artificial sweeteners.

For the former, watch the evening network news on ABC, NBC, or CBS (or, alternately, syndicated Wheel of Fortune).

You still see feminine hygiene ads, they’re just a little less vague today.

I’m not sure that I can ever recall TV ads for movie theaters; at any rate, I suspect that theater chain advertising has largely moved online.

Splenda advertises, as do several of the stevia-based sweetener brands. Equal really hasn’t done much advertising since generic aspartame became available.

What I can tell you:

Starkist advertises, on TV, still (or, at least, they have in recent years). That said, at least some of their ads have been for their little “lunch kit” products.

Oscar Mayer does a lot of advertising behind their hot dogs (as do their competitors, such as Ball Park).

The major lunch meat makers (Oscar Mayer, Hillshire Farms, Healthy Choice) do TV ads, though they’re more likely to be for other sorts of products, like deli-sliced turkey, than for bologna.

Again, Mister Rik hasn’t seen ads =/= there are no ads.