Giving Candy a Bad Name

When the candy Ayds was first introduced to the market in the late 1930s, it was advertised as a way to help you lose weight and keep it off. They even had a tantalizing pitch: “Eat candy, feel less hungry, eventually lose weight.” The early ads for the appetite suppressant leaned heavily on language that implied that it was something of a miracle worker. The company touted the fact that the candy contained no drugs and no harmful ingredients, and they even backed up the claim by offering a $1,000 purity guarantee. The candy was promoted as containing food factors from egg yolk, milk, maltose, and selected vegetables. For only 7¢ a day — a 30-day supply for a mere $2 — you could curb your appetite and lose weight. Everything chugged along fine until 1981, when the CDC announced the deadly immune system infection AIDS. It didn’t matter that Ayds was first to the name — with only a slight difference in spelling — nor did it matter that the candy had been on the market for more than 40 years. Ayds was no longer a brand name that was ideal. Still, owner Jeffrey Martin decided not to rebrand the candy. By 1988, sales of Ayds had fallen by half and the company was forced to change the name to Diet Ayds. In the end, the decision wasn’t enough to save it. The FDA came in and forced the company out of business after determining that Ayds contained too much phenylpropanolamine, which was considered a health risk.