An advertisement in the Popular Magazine, July 7, 1915. A decade later, magazines were warning readers about the sometimes-deadly effects of “reduce-o-mania.” The fashion in beach bodies changes, but the advertiser’s fundamental message remains unaltered: You are defective.


  1. I distinctly remember a radio ad campaign from the 1990s (when I still listened to the radio on a regular basis) that began, “Are you too thin because you just don’t eat right? Try Super-Weight-On today!”

    In those days before targeted internet advertising, I clearly was not the target audience for this product.

  2. KevinT says:

    The most unfortunate diet-product name had to have been Ayds. The homonymic epidemic put a quick nail in that coffin.

  3. Daniel says:

    “Plump, well-developed persons don’t need Sargol to produce this result. Their assimilative machinery performs its functions without aid.”
    Assimilative Machinery is a grand suggestive phrase! I’m not 12 pounds overweight, I just have hyperactive assimilative machinery!

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