y.1900 or older, please


Vintage Advertising picks and thoughts

Phenyo-Caffein: It touches the spot. And the pain is not.

It touches the spot. And the pain is not.

It touches the spot. And the pain is not.

Phenyo-Caffein was a patent medicine for headaches and neuralgia manufactured by the Phenyo-Caffein Company based in Worcester, MA.

Nice round bullets

  • Why do they use a picture of a girl? Is it more likely a target audience move (women associate themselves with the girl pictured) or some sort of extra-early erotic motives?
  • Yellow hat is no coincidence – it clearly attracts the sight. Was it conscious?
  • You look at the hat, turn your sight to woman’s face, and then you look at the pill (track where she’s looking. Was it a conscious move to target your sight on a small pill?
  • There is no box on this ad. Packaging is not a part of a sale yet?
  • No visible branding attempts made.
  • Need (pain) is in the middle of the story – we don’t see any before/after, any promises in the picture. So it might be more male targeted ad: show pity, help her etc.


In most cases it acts like magic

In most cases it acts like magic

We could print hundreds of testimonials, but they do not convince those who doubt the efficacy of the remedy. The proof is in trying it.

At the very least it shows that the proof is necessary. Also, they use present tense “they do not convince” – that’s something less common now, NLP related turn – they bring all action into the present, make it happen right now, not someday in the future or past.

We authorize druggists to refund the money to any one who has bought a box of PHENYO-CAFFEIN and has not been perfectly satisfied with it.

So, customer satisfaction guarantee is at least 120 years old. One more thing: they are not afraid to use the stop-word “money” yet. Also, they make druggists responsible for all the refunds. Smart.

… nine times out of ten curing me, I eat a box every month, and give away as many to friends suffering with headache, with the best results.

is the only preparation that has … lessened the frequency of the attacks.

The promise is to “lessen the frequency”. Nice. I guess most people don’t have frequent attacks – only headache now and then. So it allows any druggist to make a side move if needed.

The devil is

  • Testimonials are dated 1883-1894 to highlight the time on the market.
  • Massachusetts is shortened as “Mass.”
  • Testimonials copy is a must read.

Filed under: Medical, ,

One Response

  1. Just a note to say I’m glad to have found this post. Was googling Phenyo-Caffein after having found an old promotional bookmark from them. (you can see it here if interested: http://tmblr.co/ZiaTwtZO0T8h) There’s not much info out there, so thanks!

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