I came upon this advertisement when looking for something else in a 1904 edition of the Vancouver Daily World. The very peculiar product name compelled me to drop what I was looking for and read the rest of the ad.
The ad copy seems to have been produced by H. A. Edgett & Co., a notable Vancouver grocer; the product was evidently being introduced to the local marketplace at around this time.
From the ad we learn the following:
– No cooking was required prior to consuming Orange Meat;
– It was easily digested;
– It was produced in Canada;
– Cost was 15 cents/package.
But what was this foodstuff with the off-putting name brand (at least to 21st-century eyes)¹?
The ad following, printed by the manufacturer (Frontenac Cereal Co. of Kingston, Ontario) in 1906, was better in terms of its descriptive strength: it was at least clear that the mysterious ‘meat’ was in fact a breakfast cereal. According to the marketing folks at Frontenac, Orange Meat’s combination of ‘crisp flakes’ + ‘spicy malt’ + sugar = ‘fascinating tastiness’. Here, the company made the classical rhetorical appeal to ‘yumminess’! (I’m kidding, they were actually appealing to pathos – of which ‘yumminess’ is merely a subset!)
But they undid their positive work by making the claim “Orange Meat simply grows on you.” Hmmmm . . . I’m not sure that’s quite the word image that the marketers wanted to conjure in the minds of prospective buyers.
In the next national ad released in the autumn of 1906, they shifted the appeal to the cleanliness of their manufacturing process (the classical appeal to logos).
Well, sort of. The headline read “Absolute Cleanliness Free.” To me, that sounds like their process was free of cleanliness. Probably not the impression they were going for.
Finally, the appeal was shifted sightly again (it remained an appeal to logos) by advertising the high food value delivered by Orange Meat. (Call in the scientists!) A Prof. John Waddell of Queen’s University was enlisted to do a series of tests. The outcome? “Orange Meat contains over 45% of wheat sugars. These build up muscles and feed nerves and make people strong and cheerful.” (Winnipeg Tribune, Feb 2/07)
The Frontenac Cereal Company seems ultimately to have said ‘uncle’ ca1911 and pulled the plug on the product with the dreadful name which, unhappily for Frontenac, was so damaged at birth that all of their marketers couldn’t put Orange Meat together again!
¹Other breakfast cereal brands of the early 1900s included such winners as: “Hello-Billo’, “Korn Kure’, ‘Tryabita’, “Tryachewa’, Oatsina, and the ever-popular, ‘Malt-Ho’!