Super Bowl 50: Big Year for the NFL

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Is there a bigger American “brand” than the Super Bowl? Football is, after all, America’s favorite sport. With Manning and the Broncos up against Newton’s Panthers, it’s bound to be a good game. (And yes, we are sad about the Patriots loss, but we must move on, right?).

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this pinnacle football game, Direct Capital can’t help but wonder… what else turns 50 this year?

There are millions of brands out there. Which ones changed the world 50 years ago? You’re about to find out.

  1. AstroTurf: Seems only right that this one is first in an article about football. Though not used much on professional football fields these days, it can be seen in college stadiums and other parks throughout the country. And let me be clear: “Artificial grass” has been around before 1966, but it wasn’t until that year when AstroTurf made it big. The first major installation of AstroTurf took place in 1966 at the Houston Astrodome indoor stadium.
    Fun Fact: AstroTuf was originally sold under the name ChemGrass.
  2. Best Buy: The popular electronic retail store first opened its doors in 1966 under the name Sound of Music. With seven stores and $10 million in annual sales after 17 years, the company was re-named Best Buy. While we know them now as the company that sells, well, pretty much everything electronic, it wasn’t always that way. Back in 1966, they specialized in high fidelity stereos. It wasn’t until they re-named the company that they started branching off into other specialties.
    Fun Fact: The company name ‘Best Buy’ was created after owner Richard Schulze’s promotion to customers, “promising ‘best buys’ on everything.”
  3. Quaker Instant Oatmeal: Quaker Oats, the breakfast cereal, has been around since the mid-1800s. It wasn’t until 1966 that the world was introduced to instant. Now, with life moving faster than ever, instant is sometimes exactly what we need in the morning. So we can all be forever thankful to Henry Parsons Crowell for coming up with this quick, easy, and delicious breakfast food.
    Fun Fact: The Quaker oats man (The one seen on the boxes) is known as “Larry.”
  4. Fresca: Their customer base may be small (typically marketed to the older demographic), but they have been loyal all these years. For 50 years, Fresca has been able to defend their niche market of a diet lime and grapefruit citrus soft drink. As they say on their website, “The fresh, crisp flavor sparkles in your glass, your mouth, and your mind.”
    Fun Fact: Lyndon B. Johnson had a Fresca soda fountain installed in the Oval Office.
  5. Wite-Out: Ah, before the days of a backspace button, Wite-Out was created to take care of handwriting’s little mistakes. In 1966, George Kloosterhouse determined there was a serious flaw in the existing correction fluid: a tendency to smudge photo-static copies. Students everywhere have been thanking this invention for 50 years, and we can’t see it disappearing any time soon. (See what I did there?)
    Fun Fact: It wasn’t until 1992, almost 30 years later, that BIC Corporation bought Wite-Out products.
  6. Twister: Young or old, Twister is a classic game that has been “tying you up in knots” since 1966. Though controversial in its first release, Twister soon became a 20th century toy phenomena. So much so that just one year later in 1967, Twister was named “Game of the Year.” Perhaps it really took flight when Johnny Carson and Eva Gabor played the iconic game on the air.
    Fun Fact: The same man who invented the Nerf ball, Reyn Guyer, came up with the original idea for Twister.
  7. Doritos: It’s hard to believe Doritos turns 50 years old this year. What is now known as the Frito-Lay brand with dozens of “bold” flavors, it all started with a simple tortilla chip recipe. The restaurant would cut up the tortillas, fry them and add basic seasoning. They were an instant hit with Frito-Lay customers. When they went nationwide in 1966, Doritos were the first tortilla chip to be launched nationally in the U.S. In 2006, after a drop in sales, the company decided to break into new flavors (the ones we all know and love today) and called it “the most significant rebranding and relaunch in Dorito’s history.”
    Fun Fact: The name “Doritos” derives from the Spanish word doradito which means “golden brown.”
  8. Toyota Corolla: As a company, Toyota has been in existence since 1924. However, they didn’t come out with the Corolla line of cars until 1966. In just 8 years, the Corolla shot to fame as the “best-selling car worldwide” and continues to hold that title even today. July 2013 marked a big year for Toyota, having sold 40 million Corollas over eleven generations.
    Fun Fact: To this day, Corollas are still manufactured at the original Toyota Takaoka location in Japan.

So, while we could have gone our whole lives without ever playing a game of Twister or eating a Dorito, we’re glad we didn’t have to. These iconic brands – much like the Super Bowl – have enriched our lives with flavors, with fun, with entertainment, and with practicality. And we’re thankful for those people behind the scenes that made it all possible.

Enjoy the Super Bowl this Sunday. Go… teams!