Back in the day, those lovable Flintstones didn’t just entertain us, they also encouraged millions of kids to make sure their daily nutritional requirements were met, thanks to a popular supplement that bore their name and likeness. Today, millions of former 70s kids owe their good health, in part at least, to Flintstones Vitamins.
The Flintstones may have ended its prime-time run in the mid-60s, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t still popular in the decade that followed. The original show still ran numerous times a day in syndication and the now-grown-up tots had their own Saturday morning cartoon, The Pebbles and Bam-Bamm Show. Meanwhile, two of the biggest sellers in the supermarket cereal aisle were Cocoa Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles. The cereals were fortified, but if you really wanted to ensure that your daily requirements were met, you could chew up one of your favorite cartoon characters in the form of Flintstones Vitamins.
These colorful little tablets hit store shelves in 1968 and were an instant hit among children and parents alike. Kids liked them, not only because they were fun to look at, but because, miracle of all miracles, they actually had a pleasing taste. Unfortunately, that pleasing taste made a few kids gobble up far more of them than was recommended, but for most, they were simply a tasty morning treat.
Of course, lurking inside every bottle of vitamins was a little subtle injustice. For you see, there were seven distinct shapes – Fred, Barney, Wilma, Pebbles, Bam-Bamm, Dino and … Fred’s car. Completely forgotten was Barney’s lovely wife Betty. Most kids didn’t notice, but one former kid from the era, Rosie O’ Donnell, sure did. After landing the role of Betty in the 90s live-action Flintstones film, she started a media campaign to right this wrong called the “Bite Into Betty” campaign. A toll-free number allowed fans of Betty to phone the parent company, Bayer, and vote for her inclusion. The response was overwhelming, earning her a place in every future vitamin bottle.
You might be surprised to learn that Flintstones Vitamins remain the biggest-selling children’s vitamin in the world to this day. A popular ad in the 80s boasted, “we are Flinstones kids, 10-million strong and growing.” Today, that number might well exceed a billion. Perhaps we all owe a grateful nod to Fred and Barney and the gang for doing their part to help keep kids healthy for almost half a century.
Did you start each morning with a Flintstones Vitamin? We’d love to hear your memories in our comments section below!