Thursday, March 10, 2011

They don't make 'em like they used to

Last month, I wrote about a 1932 edition of The Herbalist Almanac. I mentioned that I was going to send away for the current version of the catalog published by parent company Indiana Botanic Gardens.

Well, it has arrived. Above, at left, is the 2011 mail-order catalog for Botanic Choice (Indiana Botanic Gardens' line of herbal products). At right is the cover of The Herbalist Alamanac from 1932.

You can certainly say the marketing approach has changed.

In 1932, The Herbalist Alamanac offered weather forecasts, a guide to weights and measures, a guide to the best days to fish throughout the year, information on palmistry, traditional song lyrics1, an illustrated guide to herbs, numerous testimonials2, an article on how to make good sausage at home, and, of course, information on ordering all of the products mentioned throughout the almanac (but not in an in-your-face way).

In 2011, the Botanic Choice catalog offers "Hot Products", "Hundreds of items $5 or less", "Double Rewards with $20 order!!!" and "Free Gift with any order". Beyond that, it's all about listing information about the herbal products and their prices. The only thing retained from 1932 is the testimonials3. The only thing remotely entertaining is this graphic (pictured at right) on the page that offers products designed to help "strengthen and protect your entire urinary tract."

We're just no fun any more.

1. The song lyrics listed include "Swanee River", "Old Black Joe" and "How Dry I Am".
2. One example of a 1932 testimonial: "I am using Ironite on my limb and it is doing fine. The sore is getting much smaller. I paint all around the sore. It used to burn and pain when the weather would change, but it doesn't do so any more. I am very glad it is getting well, so that I can go anywhere I choose to go. Writes T.S., Frankfort, Ky."
3. One example of a 2011 testimonial: "I am 81 and still taking ACV Plus. Two years ago I learned to play golf. Now I play 18 holes twice a week. I feel great." -- G.M., Lancaster, PA. And all of the 2011 testimonials include an asterisk and the caveat: "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Testimonials in this catalog reflect one person's experience; individual results may vary."

1 comment:

  1. I love this! This might be my favorite PaperGreat post yet.