You might want a second opinion, kid
This curious advertisement comes to us courtesy of the March 1931 issue of Popular Science via Modern Mechanix. One wonders if there was a Warner-Lambert drug rep back then who wined and dined our physician, gave him that Gladstone bag, and then said something like, “My manager is really on my back to move more Listerine. Could I count on you to tell the next ten kids with sore throats to gargle with the stuff every 2 hours?”
Incidentally, our conflict-of-interest-addled doctor seems to be doing a pretty lousy exam on this patient. The room is dark, he has no forehead reflector, and the candle on the table is not lit. How much of this kid’s throat can this quack actually see?
You don’t see Listerine making these kinds of claims anymore. Here’s why:
From 1921 until the mid-1970s Listerine was also marketed as a preventive and remedy for colds and sore throats. In 1976, the Federal Trade Commission ruled that these claims were misleading, and that Listerine had “no efficacy” at either preventing or alleviating the symptoms of sore throats and colds. Warner-Lambert was ordered to stop making the claims, and to include in the next $10.2 million dollars’ of Listerine ads a specific mention that “contrary to prior advertising, Listerine will not help prevent colds or sore throats or lessen their severity.”