The dialogue in this health product advertisement for
Sal Hepatica might make the reader nauseous
Sal Hepatica was a mineral salt laxative marketed between 1887 and 1958 by Bristol-Myers. Here’s a half page advertisement in Country Gentleman, November 1939. It’s doubtful the copywriter would win awardsfor the words he, or she, put into the characters’ mouths (and that’s not intended to be a pun about the product).
Firstly, the copywriter asserts the product gets rid of colds and that leads to this incredible dialogue between a husband and wife.
Oh, darling! The day of your hunt cup race. I’ll be in bed! You watch! This cold has me down!
Note her hand to her head in the meaningful manner made popular in silent movies by the damsel in distress. Then he says:
Then I’m going to give you some speedy help, honey. I’m going to mix you up some Sal Hepatica.
Our damsel checks that she understands the meaning of speedy. Speedy? You mean… it helps fast? He replies to his wife like a radio announcer:
Yes, Sal Hepatica helps fast – two ways. First it’s quick yet gentle in its laxative action – and speed is important in fighting a cold. In addition, it helps Nature counteract the acidity that usually accompanies a cold.
Then we actually see the happy conclusion several days later. He and she and a horse. Got the picture? He won. He just had to win, he claimed, because she flashed a smile at him. To which she replied
Well, I’d probably still have been home nursing a cold, if it hadn’t been for you and your glass of sparkling Sal Hepatica. From now on, my motto is “To lose a cold quicker, take Sal Hepatica.”
Many advertisers used this storyboard design — illustrations/photographs with discriptive text or dialogue below. The advertisements followed a pattern: first there is problem; then the realization of the problem; followed by the application of the product and, finally, happiness for all.