A message from Sugar Information, Inc. -- "She needs sugar in her life."


A vintage ad from the non-partisan Sugar Information, Inc.

Mary got to school early for Student Council. Her team won in gym. After play reheasal, she'll Watusi with the gang. She needs sugar in her life. For energy. She needs energyless, artificially sweetened foods and beverages like a turtle needs a seat belt. Sugar wings. Serve some.


  1. That’s sugar swings, baby! (-not sugar wings, as you have quoted here. I love this site, but you guys could use a proofreader sometimes.)

  2. Wow, that’s the most non-nonsensical ad I’ve ever seen.

    “Sugar swings. Server some.”

    wtf does that mean?!

  3. “18 calories per spoon, and it’s all energy.”

    Calories measure energy. Imagine that.

    “4 grams per spoon, and it’s all weight.”
    “5 milliliters per spoon, and it’s all volume.”

  4. I remember high school: always with the endless need to Watusi with the gang after an interminable play rehearsal, not to mention sports and civic activities, and it was never, NEVER enough for Mother, WAS IT, MOTHER?!

  5. Man, I love the “Note to Mothers,” too. I expected a legal disclaimer along the lines of “oh, by the way, sugar makes you fat.” I forgot that we didn’t invent the disclaimer until the 80s. Instead, it’s a warning about the dangers of “exhaustion.” “Play safe with your young ones — make sure they get sugar every day.”

  6. hmmm…. my box of Domnio white granulated sugar claims only 15 calories per teaspoon!

    and I think the message of “don’t feed your kids/teenagers artificial sweeteners, they don’t need ’em” is quite sound even today.

  7. Bad creative copy. Three quarters of the way through I forgot all about sugar and Mary, and became obsessed with turtle safety.

  8. i think this will be my new favorite analogy/metaphor/whatever (any grammar nazis out there?). “i need ____ like a turtle needs a safety belt”

  9. sugar does make me swing baby. after a long day at school of cheerleading, the debate team and flirting with the captain of the football team i go home and eat a whole jar of sugar!

    ha the beauty of vintage ads!

  10. “sugar does make me swing baby. after a long day at school of cheerleading, the debate team and flirting with the captain of the football team i go home and eat a whole jar of sugar!”

    You forgot to Watusi with the gang.

  11. Right on! Sugar is ten times better than artificial sweeteners, and is especially preferable to that high fructose corn syrup crap that’s now in EVERYthing instead of sugar and is a major cause of unhealthy eating. But of course as long as fatphobic people automatically associate sugar with calories and calories with fat and fat with evil (as if thin people didn’t eat corn syrupy crap food too?), we’ll never be able to have a normal conversation about healthy eating.

  12. At first it seems like an absurd ‘oh what naive fools they were back then’ ad. Sort of like cigarette ads featuring doctors, but I’m now with Elayne. Sugar is okay. 16 or 18 calories per teaspoon is reasonable for the taste of sweet.

    Our modern Mary still gets all the calories she got in the 50’s from sugar, but now she also gets a big shot of high fructose corn syrup…

    btw: it sure _seems_ that the ‘bedazzled’ link is to a spam blog. I’m not sure if that is important or not :-/

  13. If you’re ever in St. Louis, stop by Fitz’s, a restaurant and soda pop bottling plant that uses only sugar, not corn syrup, in its non-diet drinks. Some of the best root beer and creme soda I’ve ever had.

    I only wish I didn’t live too far away to get cases of it regularly.

  14. over a decade ago i found this ad in a copy of LIFE magazine, dufifully xeroxed it, and placed it everywhere i could think of. The stilted grammar, attempt at hipness, and general oddness of the ad made it irresistable to me. Alas, i had lost the ad and couldn’t find any existence of this ehpemera on the internets. Thank you for reuniting me with Watusi Mary!

  15. i’m so out of touch… i just had to wikipedia “watusi” to find out what they’re talking about.

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