What is Noxema?
Although there is mild controversy about who first developed Noxzema skin cream, its packaging looks much like it did when it was developed in the 1900s and its ingredients are largely the same.
The original skin cream is known as a skin softener, make-up remover and sunburn soother. Other members of the Noxzema line now include skin moisturizer creams and lotions, skin cleansers, blemish controllers, make-up remover cloths, shaving cream and gel and more.
According to BlissPlan.com, Noxzema ingredients include: water, stearic acid, linseed oil, soybean oil, fragrance, ammonium hydroxide, camphor, menthol, eucalyptus oil and propylene glycol.
Some say Noxzema was developed by pharmacist George Bunting in 1914 when he mixed the ingredients in a coffee pot and poured them into cobalt blue, glass jars. He labeled it "Dr. Bunting's Sunburn Remedy."
Others say the formula was developed in 1911 by Francis J. Townsend, a physician, in Ocean City, Maryland. Stories claim he named it "Townsend R22" before selling or giving the formula to Bunting.
All reports, however, claim the name "Noxzema" originated from a customer's testimonial that the formula "knocked" down her eczema.
Growth in Popularity
Between 1914 and 1923--before the first year Noxzema turned a profit--Bunting came close to bankruptcy more than once. He sold stock certificates in the company he incorporated in 1917 and even paid some of his bills with shares.
Other Maryland pharmacies sold Noxzema and their owners bought shares of stock.
When sales broke $100,000 in 1925, Bunting took his marketing national.
During the 1940s, he supplied World War II servicemen with more than 63 million jars of his skin cream to relieve their sore, aching feet.
Noxzema's early national advertising led with the radio show, "Professor Quiz."
Bunting was an earlier advertiser on television when, in 1955, Noxzema co-sponsored "Person to Person," an interview show that featured TV news legend Edward R. Murrow. Later, Noxzema also became a sponsor of the "Perry Como Show."
AllBusiness reports Noxzema became a household word in the 1950s with the television advertising. It estimates the commercials were seen by half of the 45-million-home viewing audience each week.
Later, the brand was marketed on TV by celebrities including Mariel Hemingway and Cybill Shepherd. And anyone who watched television in the 1960s probably remembers Noxzema's shaving cream commercials. "The Stripper" was the theme music while a former Miss Sweden suggested that shavers "Take it off. Take it all off."
Procter & Gamble purchased the company, managed by Bunting's grandson, in 1989. In 2008, P-G sold it to Alberto-Culver. After nearly 100 years, Noxzema continues as a major player in the skin products market and even has Facebook and Twitter accounts.
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