"Free. Free. A Trip. To Mars. For 900. Empty Jars."

Older readers of Neatorama will remember an era when Burma-Shave signs entertained drivers on the nation's highways (the complete text of all the jingles has been assembled at Burma-Shave.org.)

The company also posted two promotional offers on their signs; the first one ("Free offer! Free offer! / Rip a fender off your car / mail it in / for a half-pound jar / Burma-Shave") resulted in some actual fenders being mailed to the company, which made good on its promise.  The second promotion (in the title of this post) stimulated the imagination of Arliss French in Appleton, Wisconsin.
French managed the town's Red Owl supermarket and offered to pay customers 15 cents for every empty Burma Shave jar they brought in. He ran a full-page ad in the paper reading, "Send Frenchie to Mars." As the empties accumulated in his store, he telegraphed the company, "Please advise where to ship the jars."

The folks at Burma Shave scrambled to avoid embarrassment. Thinking he would decline, they offered to send him to the village of Moers, Germany (which they insisted was pronounced, "Mars") if he would wear a space suit for the trip. He agreed.

French and his wife departed New York at the company's expense on Dec. 2, 1958. He wore a football helmet and a silver costume emblazoned with the Red Owl logo. When he arrived in Moers two days later, all 78 residents turned out to greet him.

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/article_0f3d67ce-943f-11df-8f06-001cc4c03286.html.  Photo: Wisconsin Historical Society.

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