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Uncle Sam Wants Chew

How Philip Wrigley pitched in for the war effort in 1945.
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The year was 1945, and the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. was facing its own private rendezvous with destiny. With the war in the Pacific persisting, the company had exhausted its supply of sugar. CEO Philip K. Wrigley feared that demand for gum would dwindle as the company failed to fill orders from retailers. Instead he decided to abandon the consumer market entirely and donate whatever gum he could muster to the armed services. With advertising, he could exhort patriotic citizens to sacrifice their sticks of gum just as they were rationing other supplies. For a year, Wrigley's gum went exclusively to men in submarines and foxholes and on bases. A new catchphrase -- "Remember This Wrapper" -- trumpeted the company's good deed. Six months after V-J Day, Wrigley's gum resurfaced. Wrigley's sales rapidly surpassed prewar figures. All that, and the world was safe for democracy, too.


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Last updated: Oct 1, 2001




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