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18 Things You Never Knew Started As Marketing Ploys

Everything you know is a lie.

1. Toilet paper rolls were invented to sell Scott's brand paper.

2. Father's Day was invented as a way to sell menswear during the Depression.

3. The layout of your grocery store is designed to make you buy more.

4. Campbell's invented green bean casserole.

5. Boxed cake mix was conceived as a way to sell molasses.

6. Diamond engagement rings were conceived by the De Beers diamond company.

7. The De Beers company also decided that engagement rings should cost two months' salary.

8. Wedding registries were invented by a Chicago department store.

9. The Guinness two-pour was just an ad to make the beer seem unique.

10. The Miss America Pageant started as a way to bring people to Atlantic City.

11. Women didn't shave their armpits until Gillette told them they should.

Starting in 1915 and spurred by the increase of sleeveless and sheer-sleeved dresses coming into fashion, a marketing campaign was launched in Harper's Bazaar by Gillette to convince women their underarm hair was both unhygienic and unfashionable. By the 1920s, these ubiquitous ads had spawned an entire industry of personal shaving products.

12. Women only started shaving their legs when manufacturers of hygiene products sought to capitalize on changing fashion trends.

13. Oprah's famous car giveaway was really a giant ad for General Motors.

14. The modern use of the word "like" came from a cigarette ad.

15. Negative ideas about body odor were started by a deodorant company.

16. A formaldehyde company started the practice of chemically embalming the dead.

17. The shame associated with herpes was created to sell herpes medication.

18. The modern character of Santa Claus started in a Coca-Cola ad campaign.

Prior to the 1930s, St. Nicholas (aka Santa Claus) was depicted more like his namesake bishop on the left — gaunt and elf-like. But when the Coca-Cola company began placing magazine ads in the Saturday Evening Post, their ad men redesigned Santa Claus into the big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard we know today. The image wasn't entirely original though — they based their renderings on the description of Saint Nick on the Clement C. Moore poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."