Kool-Aid's "Pitch"-er Man
Edwin Perkins was a curious child, with a bent for creativity. Born in the late 1800s, the Nebraska youth had a burning desire to learn more about chemistry and mixing. When his father opened a general store, Perkins found a whole new range of foods and food products, and began experimenting not only with flavors, but scents.
At age eleven, he sent away for a "mixer's kit" and by the time he was a teenager, he was sending for material on how to become a manufacturer. By age 25, he had set up a small mail order business called Perkins Products Co. to sell his various inventions, including the beverage concentrate, Fruit Smack.
Sold in four ounce bottles, it made enough for several people to enjoy, when mixed with water. The six flavors sold very well, but shipping glass was a problem. So in 1927, Perkins went on to devise a way of taking the water out of the concentrate and selling it as a powder, in a packet labeled "Kool Ade". It was doing well when the Great Depression hit, and in answer to the shortage of sugar, and money for treats, he cut his price in half, from a dime, to a nickel.
By 1931, sales were so good that he stopped making anything else but the powdered drink, and moved his entire production facilities to Chicago. In 1950, the 300 factory workers were turning out a million packets a day.
In 1953, Perkins sold his business to General Foods, who would eventually merge with Kraft Foods. They repackaged the product with a new symbol- a smiling faced pitcher, containing a red flavor, with the features appearing to have been drawn in the condensation, by someone's finger.
This would remain Kool-Aid's image until 1975, when the company, seeking to keep up with the times, started dressing the pitcher in various outfits, and he became known as "Pitcher Man", crashing his way through commercials, with an "Oh yeah!"