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Colgate – the menage a trois toothpaste

This commercial begins (as did all commercials in the 1950s) with the guys and gals flocking to the local college soda shop. Yes, it’s a scene right out of Archie comics until Harry shows up…”When handsome Harry joins the session, he makes a real cool three way impression.”

Huh? Is Harry trying to initiate a group grope?

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your own personal sexual mores) they’re actually talking about the three way effect of Colgate toothpaste. It turns out that the beauty science behind this little morality play is in the ingredient called Gardol. (Get it…Guard All?)

At first I assumed this was just clever branding for fluoride which is the active ingredient in most toothpastes. But I was surprised to find that Gardol was actually the trademark for the surfactant the Colgate used. Rather than sodium lauryl sulfate (which is still commonly used in toothpastes) they opted for a milder version known sodium lauryl sarcosinate.

The good news is Harry and his chums can have three way white teeth. The bad news is they’ll have to wait another 50 years or so for twerking to be invented.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Christina May 23, 2014, 8:20 am

    For being a mild surfactant, Gardol sure lets it’s freak flag fly! Get it, Gardol!

    Sodium Lauryl Sarcosinate, the original Twerk.

    Great Flashback Friday!

    • Randy Schueller May 23, 2014, 10:59 am

      @Christina: We said it was mild, we didn’t say it was a prude.

      I keep getting confused about Flashback Friday. Sometimes I want to post these videos on Throwback Thursday. Once I even tried posting them on Time travel Tuesday. Fortunately, so far I have never put one up on Modern Monday or Whenever Wednesday.

      • Christina May 23, 2014, 12:19 pm

        Whatever would we do without a day of the week theme?

        Keep these vintage advertisements coming. They are a great way to end a week.

  • Tess @ Tips on Life & Love May 23, 2014, 3:26 pm

    Haha, I love vintage ads. So, Colgate is better for sensitive teeth compared to the other brands?

  • Markus Kobi February 11, 2016, 3:42 pm

    The best part is…If you’re wondering why they all look like they have those clear braces on their teeth- it’s because they’re all wearing a very early version of the ‘Snap On Smile’ (now a well known, removable, cosmetic appliance that patients can be fitted for at a dentists office). Back in the day, television studios used all kinds of creative ‘add on’s’ to create flawless smiles for the camera. I can’t say I’ve ever noticed them in films, but whenever they show up on old television footage they are quite easy to spot. The models that display prizes on old game shows have some of the worst ones. Enormous wax overlays with no definition…I think the goal was to amplify the smile since camera innovation was in its infancy and a model’s facial features could get lost if the shot wasn’t close enough. The problems arose when she wasn’t showing off a sailboat or some massive, shiny, Cadillac. If she got too close to the camera, it was obvious that she could barely close her mouth around her giant prosthetic “SMILE!”.

    • Markus Kobi February 11, 2016, 3:51 pm

      Actual dialogue was awkward looking and impossible to deliver with these enhancements. Notice that all the actors do in close ups is “SMILE!” If you look closely-Handsome Harry dashes in the door with a subtle greeting, but when he sits down for his close up he suddenly has a mouthful of prominent gleaming teeth that couldn’t possibly have been in his mouth when he first arrived.

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