ADVERTISING: The Real Brand X

Millions of dollars of free—though by no means favorable—publicity have made a household word out of a unique U.S. advertising invention called Brand X. Brand X in TV commercials is the com peting product that leaves tattletale grey, fails to keep a frothy head, or comes apart at the seams when tugged by two circus strong men. The ad industry has already run into trouble with the Federal Trade Commission for doctoring Brand X to ensure foolproof inferiority. Last week the inevitable happened: unable to resist the lure of all those free plugs, several firms are on the market with their own, on-the-level Brand X products.

Onto the market came Brand X Window Cleaner, an efficient, pastelike cleaner invented by former Eisenhower Bodyguard Harry Chafvin Jr., who set up his own Brand "X" Corp. to manufacture the paste and a Brand "X" polishing cloth. Going to market this week are Brand "X" cigarettes, put out by three young Manhattan admen who founded Brand "X" Enterprises. Inc. Brand "X" cigarettes are designed "for the man who is satisfied with nothing less than second best." Says Martin Solow, president of Brand "X" Enterprises: "There are millions of people who don't want to be first, who believe first place is too crowded. Our cigarette is for the man who, as a boy, dreamed of becoming Vice President." The U.S. Patent Office has already received Brand X registration applications for both products—as well as an application for Brand X popcorn from Brand-X Products Co. of Philadelphia. A Hartford liquor store sells its own Brand X whisky, claims it outsells other brands 4 to 1.

Brand X is such a handy device for avoiding mention of competitors that Madison Avenue is not likely to give it up easily. But some products—including Cheer detergent—have already stopped using Brand X in favor of such descriptions as "another leading washday detergent," and others, such as Piel's beer, are cutting down their use of Brand X. But Brand X has a huge reservoir of good will in TV viewers who resent loud and aggressive commercials, favor the underdog. Manhattan's Brand "X" Enterprises, Inc. is so confident of this market that it is planning to put out a new detergent. Its name: WON'T.

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