An old ad that I found in the files…

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A couple days ago I promised I’d start scanning in and posting some of the ads that I’ve found in the files from when grandad and Uncle Piccilo were running the business.  Here’s one that must have run sometime in the late 1950s, because that’s when they were in Minnetonka and using the given PO box.  All I have is a tear sheet, but I suspect this ad ran in the back third of Popular Mechanics.

I suspect this ad was created by either Piccillo or perhaps by Baylord & Associates, which was the New York advertising firm that they worked with for most of the 1950s and early 1960s. Eventually they moved over to Grant & Grant, a different firm in New York, and sales took off around 1964.

Note that the price for a month supply was $3, which at the time included shipping.  Based on the customer records I’ve seen, I suspect that they were selling about 1500 or so bottles a month, although about 2/3 of those were to “repeat” customers.

Richard was also trying to get certifications from various medical societies around this time; maybe next I’ll post the ad I found showing a doctor who recommended that most of his male patients take these.

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Picture of Grandpa

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Here’s a photo of my grandpa, Richard Magnus Sr. and grandma, probably taken sometime in the 1980s.  I think it was taken shortly before their fourtieth wedding anniversary, so he’d be about 65 years old in this picture.

I really look up to my grand-dad, because he was smart and funny and always on top of things.  When I was young I wanted to grow up an be just liek him.  Alot of this, I know, came because he ran such a successful business.

I can only hope that I have 1/10th of the success that he had.

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RIP, Billy Mays

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Picture of Billy Mays
As you know, I have been trying, somewhat unsuccessfully, to grow this business back to the same scale it was back in the 1950s and 1960s when my grandfather and his partner were selling thousands of bottles a month.  I’m not embarassed to say that I’m still quite far away from that goal.  Perhaps the world has changed and the numbers of people who want to buy a placebo which claims to reduce the size of their penis but doesn’t actually do so is smaller than it was back in the days of Ike and JFK and Hugh Hefner.

But,  I’ve also thought that maybe the problem is that folks today don’t know about the product.  To that end, we’ve been advertising on the web and occasionally on television, but it still hasn’t taken off.  Recently we’d written another commercial, and were getting ready to see if our favorite pitchman, Billy Mays, might be willing to do the commercial for us ( for free, because we’re poor ).  Everything was ready to go except for the part of actually trying to contact Mr. Mays and talk him into it.

And, today we were saddened to hear that Mr. Mays passed away overnight, and so we will never have the opporunity to get turned down by him.  Our condolences to his family and friends.

(Picture of Billy Mays by Sharese Ann Frederick of Purchase, N.Y. ; used under a CC:Attribution/ShareAlike license.)

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Recently, a Scotsman asked me…

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if I had any suggestion for what he could do to feel more comfortable while taking a daily stroll around the mall. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that even in full Scots regalia, wearing a standard issue kilt, that nobody was at much risk of seeing his little Scotsman.

Instead, I told him what I’ve told thousands of our fine customers — that, if he was concerned about his little Braveheart scaring the villagers that he should take some of our un-patented, penis reduction pills. They’re the perfect antidote to the problem that he doesn’t have.

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Another ad from the files

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Here’s another ad that I pulled out of the microfiche.  This one would have run in the woman’s magazines of the day, like Women’s Day,in the late 1950s.

Granddad made most of these ads himself, since he’d spent years in the advertising industry in Minneapolis before founding PRP.   Certainly they show the social thoughts and mores of the time.  For example, these days “snooping” would make the protagonist in this ad seem, well, not the best girlfriend material.  But, back in the 1950s nobody would have thought it reflected badly on a potential girlfriend.

There was some correspondence in the folder with this ad, showing the different places granddad sought to run it.  In addition to the woman’s magazines, he occasionally ran this ad in the news magazines of the time like Newsweek.

And, back in the day it would have cost granddad $380 ( almost $3000 in 2008 dollars ) to run this in the back third of Woman’s Day, so it was a number of years before the company had grown large enough to have a revenue base to support that.

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Word is getting out!

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Word of this product is getting out, and not just here in America. For example, here’s something about us on a spanish website of some kind…

screen capture of item from elpagafantas.es mentioning our product

Now, I don’t know what they’re saying, but it’s great that we’ve got things like the world wide wed these days. Back in granddad’s day, he pretty much only sold in the U.S., and the notion of folks in Spain or Germany even knowing about the product would have blown his mind. Why, last month when I was looking through the referrer’s logs I saw a huge number of hits from Russia, which would have astounded papa — he died during the end of the cold war, and never would have thought of them as not being the enemy.

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We run our business differently

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I’m always saddened to read about the misfortune of others.  Today, it was

Picture of Steve Warshak

Steve Warshak and his company, Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, who may a product that isn’t a competitor of ours, but is certainly in the same business — Enzyte.  You likely know about him from those “Smiling Bob ads on television.  Steve was just convicted of massive fraud, and will be going to jail and paying a half billion dollar fine.  A half billion dollars!

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