1931 Alka-Seltzer is introduced into the market for relief of heartburn,
acid indigestion, upset-stomach, headache, body aches and pains.
Comic strip characters are used to advertise the product in serials
on buses and subway cars.
1951 The famous baby-faced character Speedy Alka-Seltzer was born
featuring an Alka-Seltzer tablet body with hat and “effervescent” wand.
Originally known as Sparky, his name was changed by a sales manager
to reflect that year’s promotional theme, “Speedy Relief.” The
Speedy Alka-Seltzer character was created in 1951 with the original
working model standing at just 6 inches tall.
1953 The first television commercial featuring Speedy was taped
on March 16, 1953. He appeared in more than 200 commercials over
a 10 year period from 1954-1964. Alka-Seltzer invested more than
$8.5 million a year on Speedy, which was the largest investment of
any single advertising campaign in that era. In all commercials the
voice of Speedy was provided by radio actor Dick Beals.
1954 The most famous commercial jingle sung by speedy Alka-Seltzer
aired: “Down, down, down the stomach through Round, round,
round the system too, With Alka-Seltzer you’re sure to say,
Relief is just a swallow away.”
1964 Speedy Alka-Seltzer is retired.
1969 “Mama mia, that’s a spicy meatball,” ad
campaign was introduced.
1972 The original “I can’t believe I ate the whole
thing” ad airs. This phrase became one of Newsweek magazine’s
10 most memorable lines of the decade.
1974 Alka-Seltzer Gold is introduced for aspirin-free relief of
1979 “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Oh, what a relief it is” was
introduced. The jingle became one of the most recognized in commercial
1980 Sammy Davis Jr. starred in three ads for Alka-Seltzer along
with Speedy who made a limited return for the Winter Olympics.
1984 Alka-Seltzer was previously used to be in available in glass
tubes, which were discontinued to reduce costs and eliminate breakage
1987 Alka-Seltzer Extra Strength is created for extra strength
relief of indigestion and pain.
1998 Alka-Seltzer signed on America’s No. 1 husband and wife
political pundits – James Carville and Mary Matalin – to
tout relief during this heightened time of political heartburn. This
marked the first time Alka-Seltzer used celebrities in its ads since
1980. During this year, Alka-Seltzer aired its 100th TV ad campaign
and also developed Alka-Seltzer PM to relieve pain and sleeplessness.
2000 Alka-Seltzer Heartburn is brought into the market as an aspirin-free
formula that relieves even your worst heartburn.
2001 Alka-Seltzer Morning Relief is introduced for sufferers of
aches and pains associated with a hangover.
2005 Alka-Seltzer paid tribute to one of its most famous ads of
all time with a remake of “I can’t believe I ate the
whole thing” starring Doris Roberts and Peter Boyle from Everybody
2006 Alka-Seltzer celebrates its 75th Anniversary.