The Most Famous Michigan Name in Pickles Has Died at Age 96
A Michigan legend in the pickle industry has died but was part of the reason for the success of the most famous pickle company in history.
Vlasic Pickles TV Commercials
Vlasic Pickles were famous not just for pickles but their commercials and the Vlasic Pickel Stork as seen in the commercial above. The Vlasic Pickel catchphrase was "Now that's the best-tasting pickle I've ever heard."
The Vlasic TV commercial above is one of their most famous ads featuring a daughter and dad at the table and who is gonna eat that pickle conversation.
The commercial above took on another great catch-phrase "It's the greatest thing to happen to a sandwich since sliced bread."
History of Vlasic Pickles
Frank Vlasic was an immigrant from Bosnia who traveled to Detroit, Michigan in 1912 and started a business that turned into Michigan's largest dairy distributor. Wait, dairy? That's not pickles. In the beginning, the family made milk and cheese, and later that side of the business was turned over to Frank's son Joseph.
It wasn't until 1937 that Vlasic began putting Polish pickles into a jar. This was a huge success and they could not keep the pickle jars on store shelves.
The first pickle plant was built in Imlay City. The cucumbers used to make the pickles were grown in Mount Pleasant and Kalamazoo.
It was in 1974 when Vlasic began to use the stork baby mythology with the notion that pregnant women have an above-average appetite for pickles. It was brilliant marketing and the rest is history.
It wasn't until after World War II that Robert Vlasic joined the family business as the general manager of Vlasic operation and at the time it was still part of their creamery.
It took Joe and Bob 20 years but the two grew Vlasic into America's number-one pickle which is not too bad for a couple of cheesemakers. The two became so successful at making pickles they walked away from their dairy company.
According to WOOD, Vlasic Pickles was eventually sold to the Campbell Soup Company in 1978 where Robert Vlasic became a member of Campbell's Board of Directors from 1988 to 1993.
After living an amazing life and helping create one of America's most famous brands, Robert Vlasic died at the age of 96. A visitation will be held at A. J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home on May 27 with a memorial service to follow on May 28.