Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Patsy, Peter and Milly

One thing on which all Americans can agree, red state and blue state alike, is the dreadful condition of British teeth.  Just compare their brilliantly enamelled, broad and confident smiles with our own tight lipped, sheepish grins, desperate to conceal the inner putrefaction and decay.  Americans are quick to attribute this to our NHS and its tradition of socialistic medicine - ineffective by definition.  More to the point may be generations of a sugar heavy diet combined with casual dental care. The most affordable confectionery items for the generation I grew up with were boiled sweets and fruit gums which could not have been more lethal to oral health if they had been designed for the purpose.  The former would crush and splinter tooth enamel while the latter would glue themselves to the tooth, force their way into cavities, and wrench the weakened teeth from their sockets.

This booklet was designed to encourage children to improve their oral hygiene by making regular use of Colgate’s Dental Cream - the message came wrapped in a simplistic tale. Patsy was dealing with feelings of inferiority brought on by a brief encounter with a pretty girl named May whose teeth shone with dazzling brightness.  A callous nurse assures Patsy that she will never be the equal of May.  All seems lost until an emotionally supportive elf intervenes and deposits a gift-wrapped tube of Colgate at the foot of a pear tree for Patsy to find via a midnight assignation.  Liberal use of Colgate swiftly dispels Patsy’s body image anxieties as she records her efforts on the Clean Teeth Chart. For Colgate this was one small step along the road to world domination. Today’s Colgate has the highest degree of global market penetration of any consumer product.


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