...or, if you prefer it, the pharmaceutical industry.
My first job after leaving the army was with an American firm which had been started early in the twentieth century in the United States by a man pushing a medicine cart round the mid-West, giving away samples of his One-minute Cough Cure and similar wonders. By the time I joined it, it was a small but successful company exporting world-wide from a factory in South London.
They sold a range of proprietary pharmaceuticals (which used to be called patent medicines)—pills, powders and ointments, all useful remedies for minor ailments. Their really big seller was Pills for the Kidneys and Bladder, which contained a variety of herbal compounds of proven efficacy such as Pichi and Buchu. It was recommended for, among other things, the relief of a certain geriatric problem which we described coyly as “Getting Up Nights”. (I was young then: my problem in those days was Getting Up Mornings.)
These pills contained, among their perfectly respectable ingredients, methylene blue. This is a urinary antiseptic of genuine therapeutic value, but it also made a major contribution towards the pills’ popularity in six continents because it turned your pee bright blue. In most markets we made the point discreetly in our advertising: “...within a few hours of taking the pills you will see the good they are doing you”, but in the Far East and Africa we were more blunt: “The Blue Comes Through”.
The company still exists with the same name (which was the surname of the character played by George Sanders in All about Eve*) but is now part of a group whose skincare, feminine hygiene and oral care brands are marketed from Sweden. The group claims the usual sort of thing: “commitment to innovation, brand development and quality”, but these banalities are feeble successors to the (literally) colourful boasts of earlier days.
There are further revelations HERE about my work for this company.
[*But the line about a bumpy night was not a reference to the nocturnal geriatric problem.]