Burma-Shave jingles thrilled travelers for five decades

November 25, 2013

The big billboards with varying comments from two cows promoting Chick-fil-A that have been seen recently remind me of a similar advertising campaign: Burma-Shave.  Only folks in their late fifties or older will remember those small red and white signs with rhyming jingles that travelers enjoyed reading along the highways for nearly five decades (mid 1920s to mid 1960s).
When the Interstate highways came along with faster travel, the little signs in farmers pastures were more difficult to read. Also, it became harder for the company to maintain the signs. If one of the five or six signs fell down (or was stolen by a college student for his dorm room, which happened), the effect of the jingle was lost. Sales also declined, so in 1963 the Burma-Shave Company sold out to Phillip Morris who had an American Razor division.  The new company’s lawyer advised that the small signs be discontinued, perhaps for fear someone would have an accident trying to read them and sue!

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Category: Opinions