Burma-Vita corporation, based in Minneapolis, produced shaving cream but its advertising signs at the side of the road had a greater impact on America. The rhyming six little signs at the side of the road not only brought billboards to America's highways, it also inspired advertisers to woo their customers with humor and fun.
A set of signs are in the Smithsonian, and a national advertising museum included the company in a recent exhibit.
In this vale of toil and sin, your head grows bald but not your chin. Burma-Shave.
The Edina Historical Society exhibit on Burma-Shave was very popular. People fondly remember these rhymes, but most do not know that Burma-Shave was based in Minnesota. We held the exhibit because the owners lived in Edina.
~Marci Matson, Edina, MN
It's a wonderful story about how they almost gave up, lost all their money, etc. but aren't there many MN stories we could find like that? I see Burma Shave as the beginning of a new kind of advertising. A billboard that provided entertainment instead of messing up the scenery. A game for the family on a Sunday drive to play together. And laugh together. It was the age of the Sunday drive especially the 1940s. And then there were the farmers who maintained them and rented the spaces on their land for very little money. They became a part of this exciting new wave of advertising. They got a newsletter and special attention when they had sign stories to tell. The campaign has never been forgotten. Many folks can still recite the slogans. Most of all, Burma Shave signs, to the generations who experienced seeing and reading them, always bring a smile when the subject comes up. Always.