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PHILA. BADGE CO. INC. PHILA., PA
Parkay is a brand of margarine that was first introduced in 1937. Due to opposition from American dairy farmers, companies that manufactured and sold margarine in the United States often had to get creative when selling this highly contested butter substitute. Over the years, many companies developed contests to positively promote their margarine products. In 1966, Kraft, makers of Parkay, Miracle Brand, and Kraft Corn Oil Margarine, came up with the “Andy Williams Mystery Song Contest” where contestants could win cash prizes and records by American pop musician Andy Williams. One lucky winner would also get to choose the name for a "mystery song" by Andy Williams, who would announce the title and sing the “mystery song” live on his NBC television show “The Andy Williams Show,” presented by Kraft Music Hall, of course.
Originally invented in 1869 by French chemist Hippolyte Mége-Mouriés for Emperor Louis Napoleon III, margarine was first developed as a cheap alternative to butter for Napoleon III’s armies and the French lower classes. The arrival of margarine to the United States in the 1870s upset American dairy farmers so much that they lobbied for restrictions and taxes on the butter-like product, even going so far as to ban the manufacture and use of margarine in some states, including Wisconsin, where it is still illegal to serve margarine in state institutions like schools, prisons, and hospitals. Dairy farmers also objected to margarine manufacturer’s practice of dyeing the naturally white product yellow to make margarine look more appealing and butter-like, proposing that margarine should be dyed pink, red, brown, or even black to set it apart from real butter (which is also often dyed yellow…). Margarine makers got around these “color constraints” by including yellow dye packs in packages of white margarine, so consumers could color their spread at home. Despite the efforts of American dairy farmers, the cheap price and supreme spread-ability of margarine eventually won over consumers and margarine secured its place in U.S. grocery stores.
Kraft Foods. (2003, September 15). Retrieved from https://adage.com/article/adage-encyclopedia/kraft-foods/98739/
Rupp, R. (2014, August 13). The butter wars: When margarine was pink. National Geographic. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/people-and-culture/food/the-plate/201...
Image of Mystery Contest Poster retrieved from https://www.ebay.ca/itm/1966-vintage-ad-Andy-Williams-Mystery-Song-Conte...