SQUIBB - "The Priceless Ingredient"

. Sunday, March 16, 2008
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IN 1921, Squibb had never advertised to the public, but wanted to advertise certain "household" drug products which are on most bathroom shelves. Squibb did a large business with the rvedical profession and felt that the profession would scrutinize very critically any advertising to the public that it might do. So the problem given to Raymond Rubicam, then a writer at N. W. Ayer & Son, was to produce a series of advertisements which would sell Squibb to the public and not offend the publicity sensitive medical profession.

Squibb had done a masterly job of convincing young Rubicam of its high professional standards and the importance of its contributions to the science of medicine. So much so that Rubicam admits to this day that his efforts to produce something off the beaten track "are still painful in my mind." He became obsessed with the problem and covered dozens of yellow sheets with headlines, both in the office and at home. One night at two in the morning, he seemed as far away from the solution as ever. Wearily gathering up his yellow sheets before going to bed, he took one more look through the mass of headlines he had written. "Suddenly," he writes, "two separate word combinations popped out at me from two different headlines. One was The Priceless Ingredient and the other Honor and Integrity. Instantly, the two came together in my mind and I knew I had the headline and the slant that solved the problem: The Priceless Ingredient o f Every Product is the Honor and Integrity o f its Maker. The next day I wrote a full piece of copy around this, and Jim Mathes and I submitted it personally to the late Mr. Theodore Weicker, who was then vice president, and later president, of Squibb.
"The first text did not contain the parable about Hakeem, the Wise Man, which finally was used to lead-off the text, with Hakeem pronouncing The Priceless Ingredient sentence just as I first wrote it."
The parable was introduced by Mr. Weicker.
Both Raymond Rubicam and Theodore Weicker have been widely credited with the origination of The Priceless Ingredient idea, but the foregoing is the actual story of what happened.
The phrase, The Priceless Ingredient o f Every Product is the Honor and Integrity o f its Maker, became a permanent part of Squibb advertising and appears on practically everything bearing the Squibb name. During the more than quarter century of its use, the Squibb advertising appropriation has grown to many times its 1921 size.