Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Hills Bros. Coffee Ad – March 5, 1968

Yesterday's blog featured a Cutlass ad that may very have helped define my parents' choice of cars (assuming that they were susceptible to newspaper advertising).

Continuing that line of reasoning, here's an ad that may have led to Mom and Dad choosing Hills Brothers as their all-time favorite coffee.

The ad – which took up 3/4 of a page – ran in the Lorain Journal on March 5, 1968 – 50 years ago this week.

Mom and Dad were super loyal to Hills Brothers. For decades, it was the only coffee they ever drank. When it was on sale at Marc's, I would pick up three or four cans for them. Once, they had thirteen cans of it in the cupboard!

(I always thought Hills Brothers was pretty good, and it probably helps explain why I'm not a coffee elitist today. However, now I drink Tim Hortons coffee – the choice of millions of Canucks – each morning.)

Interestingly, Hills Brothers was one of the few coffees with an actual advertising mascot. In this case, the turban-wearing coffee drinker was known officially as the "Taster." (The iconic figure is immortalized in the form of a bronze statue, which you can read about here.) I think he gave the can a lot of character.

Here he is as part of a vintage easel-backed point-of-purchase display, courtesy of liveauctioneers.com.
Unfortunately, the coffee-sipping Arab was 'canned' in the 1990s.

The reasoning behind his retirement is explained in this interesting article. The article also reveals that the brand is now enjoying increased popularity nationwide because of a recent redesign of the packaging.

And here's a link to a whole Pinterest page devoted to Hills Brothers coffee packaging, signage and history.

What’s your favorite coffee?

Do you like it brewed the old-fashioned way, where you open a can (or bag) and scoop it into a basket/filter? (To me, smelling that ground coffee is the best part!) Or are you a pod person?

Be sure to leave a comment!


Anonymous said...

Hi Dan, Too bad you didn't keep one of those Cutlass cars from the 60's-70's. I see on the car auction shows they're going for a lot of money. As far as coffee goes, brewed all the way! We have a pod coffee maker at work and it's not the same. Like you, the smell of opening a fresh bag is the best. I can remember standing in the coffee aisle and smelling the fresh coffee as my Mom ground it in one of those big grinding machines A&P had in their coffee aisle. Even as a kid I loved coffee (especially with a DeLuca's donut). My wife loves iced coffee...don't know why...Todd

Mark said...

Tim Hortons or Mcdonalds is mine! Never got into the pods.

Dan Brady said...

Thanks for the great comments! I liked coffee too as a kid, we used to add some to our milk just for some flavoring! (Kind of a kiddie Cappuccino.) And I used to get a coffee to go along with a Bobs Donut when we rode our bikes there--it seemed very adult at the time! I still remember when Mom and Dad boiled their coffee right on the stove surface unit with a Revere Ware coffee pot.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the old days and coffee I recall my Grandmother would have a pot on the stove with the grounds in the metal basket and the flame set high. After the coffee had 'brewed' she would pour herself a half cup of coffee and half milk with about seven spoons of sugar! I was about seven years old at the time. My Aunts and Uncles would pop in during the course of the day and Grandma would crank up the flame on that pot again only to be reminded that's it's boiling again. It seemed like there was always a fresh pot of boiled coffee! It was a wonderful time.

Dan Brady said...

Thanks for leaving the charming reminisce about your grandmother and coffee. You made a nice observation that the ritual of making and perking coffee is a foundation of many family get-togethers. Consequently, coffee becomes connected to the pleasant memories of those happy days. I think of my father every time I make coffee, since it was his job and the one thing he could do in the kitchen.