HoJo's soda can design

Love the package design on this old-timey Howard Johnson's own-brand soda from the depths of yesteryear.

Howard Johnsons


    1. Hojo really needs to work with their marketing department and define the difference in features and benefits, then this kind of confusion can’t happen.

      Then again, if they do/did your comment and relevant query could have never made it to the Pewlpit last night…

  1. There was a Howard Johnson’s a few towns away from where I grew up. Going there was a rare treat. They had a Friday-night all you can eat fish dinner, and a pretty good selection of ice cream.

    I don’t recall the soda. I do remember buying and eating Howard Johnson candy bars.

    Just as interesting as the labels: The old-style cans, which were heavy and sturdy compared to today’s balloon-like aluminum cans.  If you look closely you can see a triangular hole on the top of the cans in the bottom row.  Old pull-style cans, where the pull tab came off and had to be thrown away. (Or turned into jewelry.)

    1. In New England, they were mostly known for fried clams, but I remember those AYCE fish dinners – clams, scallops, fried cod and gallons of tartar sauce.

  2. I think the curved-in ends of modern soda cans make it difficult to pull off this sort of minimalism. Also, these remind me of the beat-up old Shasta Cola can that’s been sitting in my office since long before I occupied it:

  3. I could be wrong, but there’s a bit of that design in Walgreens’ new private label sodas, called Nice! http://www.drinkwhat.com/walgreen%E2%80%99s-nice-soda-drinks/

  4. “I feel that the beverage’s encapsulation in the aluminum cylinder best exemplifies the struggle of the working man and his attempts to cast off the shackles of…”

    Oh wait, I thought this was a statue of a guy with a dick for brains.

    1. Japanese vending machine coffee comes still comes in damn near indestructible steel cans. Way cool even if I did never quite understand the reason for that. Maybe they hold heat better?

  5. Italicized for FLAVOR!

    Also … orange is orange, grape is purple, ginger is ginger, root beer is brown, cola is … blue?

  6. In Asia they don’t have the pop-tops, but they still use steel in many cans (usually just Asian companies – coca-cola and so on use their standard cans).

    First time I drank something out of one of those cans I was befuddled for a moment after I drank the last drop – it still felt as heavy as a full aluminum can of similar size in the US :)

    You can get these kinds of steel cans in Asian grocery stores in the US, look for a small can of coffee or similar.

    p.s. I do love the design on these cans – but ironically I bet they were considered rather unimaginative at the time, just like todays “own-brand” products with awful design!

  7. If somebody out there sold soda that looked like those HoJo cans, I’d buy it. Even if it tasted like shit, I’d have to pick up a can every now and then. After all, even the really sweet colas like RC or Faygo are decent if they’re mixed-up with something else, like rum or poverty.

    1. sweet colas like RC or Faygo are decent if they’re mixed-up with something else, like rum or poverty
      I almost choked on a generic tater chip when I read that. I’ll take mine with rum thanks.

  8. I worked washing dishes at a Howard Johnson’s about 30 years ago.  That was the only restaurant that ever made me wear the black and white checkered pants.   I remember switching out the big milk bags, but don’t recall how they got the syrup into the drink fountain, and definitely don’t remember seeing those cans.  But I am a bit thirsty for a grape soda now.  Aftertaste be damned.

  9. HoJo hotels still exist?  How about that.
    (5 min later)
    Oh, and there’s one in my town, and I had no idea.  Marketing – UR Doin it Wrong.

  10. Dang! I miss steel pop cans. Cut both ends out of four or five.  Tape them end to end with duct tape.  Cap off one  end with a whole can. Add a little lighter fluid and Voila! Tennis ball/tomato/potato cannon!

  11. Well, there’s another thing I haven’t thought about in three decades or so.  My mother had a thing for HoJo soda, and so we’d make special trips to get the grape and cola.  Grape was the sweetest damn thing I ever tasted, even outdoing its closest rival, store brand “tahitian punch” soda.  A couple of those and I was out of the house for the day…

    In Abu Dhabi, the local HoJo is about as close as it comes to a hot-sheets hostelry, and we still have pull-tab sodas.  I doubt, however, that we have pull-tab HoJo sodas, but maybe it’s worth a trip downtown to check…

  12. Wow, those look more like cans of scouring powder or something from the maids’ cart! 

    Mmmm, borax ‘n bleach…

  13. This brings back very, very, very fond memories of playing miniature golf on Treasure Island in Florida with my family at a place called Gulf Golf. Every eighteen holes of Gulf Golf was followed by dessert at the Howard Johnson’s just a block away. I always got a root beer float with coffee ice cream–a combination that I still think is nectar and ambrosia.

    I had no idea they had their own in-house root beer, and, at the time (this was the 1980s) they may have been using some other brand. It doesn’t matter. Neither Gulf Golf nor that HoJo’s still exist. It’s bad enough that you can’t go home again. It’s the fact that you can’t go back to childhood vacation spots that really depresses me.

  14. Wow. Text font there looks a LOT like the new House Industries West Italiano font I got an email about yesterday. 

  15. Wow, looking at those cans brings me back.  A couple of times a year my family would trek an hour or two away and we would stay at a HoJo so we could attend the Jehovah’s Witnesses conventions (yes it is as bad as it sounds).  The only bright spot was the pool at the motel.  HoJo holds a special place in my heart as a sort of refuge and the only thing worth looking forward to on those trips.

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