Ron Rosenbaum

Barbasol and Grape Nuts: Two American Products That deserve More Recognition

The other day I read something about how Grape Nuts was going through one of its periodic “how do we advertise our weirdly named cereal?” crises, and there was even talk about taking it off the market. What a shame with all the crap mainstream sugar cereals and the “healthfood” cereals that all taste of some molasses-like over sweetening.

Grape Nuts is the perfect cereal! (And, btw, no product placement fees asked or offered). They’ve just been cursed by bad advertising. Remeber “tastes like wild hickory nuts”. Euelll Gibbons! Whoever ate wild hickory nuts? Sounds like it tastes like tree bark.

Yes, it’s a century old and has a ridiculous name, but it’s the best tasting dry cereal there is. I have to limit myself to a small box because I can go through one in a couple of days if I’m not careful. The secret ingredient: barley! Why won’t they advertise the taste of barley. No other cereal has it in quantities that register to the taste buds. it’s fearsomely but deliciously crunchy, doesn’t taste sugary, just toasty. It’s a century old and never been bettered.

Don’t give up Grape Nuts!

And then there’s Barbasol, the shave cream that doesn’t advertise at all as far as I can tell. I dont know who makes it, but the magic can says it’s distributed by some company in Dublin,Ohio. I used to use expensive shaving gels, like Aveeno, that promoted super smoothness and super sensitivity and super skin care, blah blah blah, You’d get maybe three shaves out of the deceptively tall can and then find yourself one morning with 20 minutes to get some place and nothing but sputtering from the empty can.

I swear when I say the Barbasol can is magic, it almost never seems to run out. I don’t knw how they do it, but it’s creamy and effective, smells great without being perfumey, smells like an old fashioned barber shop, and besides my father used it, it reminds me of my childhood when he’d shave before catching a commuter train. It’s like a link to him and my past, my shaving cream madeleine.

They don’t advertise as far as I know After many years of fancy over perfumed creams and gels I was re- united with Barbasol on one of those mornings when my expensive can of gel ran out and I ran out across the street to my local bodega which stocked only Barbasol. It’s one of those precious relics from a lost America where advertising, branding and promotion hasn’t trumped quality.

Support Barbasol and Grape Nuts, people!

And please send in suggestions for other such great non marketed, or poorly marketed brands that deserves support.