“We are Flintstones kids…ten million strong and growing!”
In the early sixties, everyone’s favorite stone-age family sitcom, The Flintstones, was entertaining millions of television viewers each week with their prehistoric parody of modern suburban life. And like all cartoons of the era, a little cross promotion of other products was par for the course. Some of the products hawked by the show, such as cigarettes, would leave people aghast in today’s age, but one product in particular was not only good and healthy, but continues to rely on the characters from this show (which went off the air over forty years ago) to market the product. Of course, we are talking about Flintstones Vitamins.
Created by the makers of Chocks and One-a-Day Vitamins and introduced in 1968, Flintstones Vitamins offered an easy way to entice children to get their daily dosage of nutrients in a kid-friendly chewable form that didn’t taste horrible. As a result, millions of adults today owe their good health to Fred, Wilma, Dino, Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm, Barney and … Fred’s car. That’s right, Barney’s lovable wife Betty was completely ignored because the company felt that her vitamin would be indistinguishable from Wilma.
This grave injustice would be revisited in 1996, thirty years after the show went off the air, and following the release of the live action Flintstones film. Actress Rosie O’Donnell who had portrayed Betty in the film helped to launch a public petition, dubbed the “Bite into Betty” campaign, which lead the parent company Bayer to set up a toll-free number where people could vote yay or nay on Betty’s inclusion. She won by a landslide and now Betty is a part of every bottle, along with another recent addition, the Great Gazoo. Fred’s car, as a result, was sent to the junkyard.
Flintstones Vitamins are still the most popular children’s vitamin on the market today, and along with the chewable variety that many grew up with, they also offer a gummi version, each of which is available in three flavors. A staple in parents medicine cabinets for almost a half-century, we perhaps all owe a little debt of gratitude to the Flintstone family, for making sure our bones were strong and our bodies healthy – assuming, of course, that we were also able to ignore the cigarette advertisements.
If you started your day as a kid with a Flintstones Vitamin, we welcome all of your recollections in our comments section, as we pay tribute to a few cartoon character-shaped pills that helped make a difference in many of our lives.