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Remember When – Is It Soup Yet?

By Janice Lane Palko


When I was a kid back in the ‘70s, I had a Great Uncle Herb Moran. When he would call his sister, my Grandma Aggie, he never said “Hello” when you picked up the phone, but greeted you with the phrase, “Is it soup yet?” Imagine how confused I was when I once answered the phone for her and heard that. When she saw my puzzled face, and I repeated what the man on the other end had said, she just laughed and said, “Oh, that’s Herb!”

I don’t know why he adopted that phrase as his tagline, but you never had any doubt who was on the other end of the line when you heard that. I’ve since learned that “Is it soup yet?” was the slogan Lipton’s used when advertising their soups.

It’s funny how advertising slogans can become part of our culture and how they can sometimes date you. My late grandfather often described someone as smiling like Jolly Boy kite. I never knew what he was talking about, but a little research revealed that from the early 1900s to the 1940s there was a manufacturing company in Illinois that made kites. Their signature kite featured a drawing of a toothy, smiling boy and was known as the Jolly Boy.

Some taglines and slogans fade from memory quickly. My nephew, Ryan, recently turned 24 and looking at a baby photo of him with his little bald head, someone said, There’s Buddy Lee. I had forgotten that around that time when he was born, Buddy Lee Man of Action, a little bald boy in flannel shirt and jeans was the mascot for Lee jeans and resembled Ryan.

Do you remember any of these slogans? Does she or doesn’t she? Mother, I’d rather do it myself! Melts in your mouth, not in your hands. If so, you were probably around when Clairol, Anacin and M&Ms were advertising in the 1950s-60s. In the 1970s, you were encouraged to Reach Out and Touch Someone (Bell Telephone) but you were prohibited from manhandling the paper products with Please don’t squeeze the Charm (toilet paper). In the 1980s, people were concerned with finding food, asking these unforgettable slogans: Got Milk? (milk processors/dairy farmers) or Where’s the Beef? (Wendy’s).

Is there any recent tagline or slogan that has made its way into your daily life or speech? If so, just remember that today’s “Wassup?” (from the 2002 Budweiser commercial) may someday be tomorrow’s “Is it soup yet?”

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