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Explain "With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good"

This has irked me for years. What is this slogan saying? Is it that with a dopey name like Smuckers it has to be at least good tasting? Is there some other interpretation? I know in the grand scheme of the world this is trivial, but they keep running that ad with the kids delivering jam (and they missed my house again) and I started wondering. Help me get it......

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  1. They are playing up their company's history. Real people, a real family, the Smuckers, who cared about their product. It's not a made-up, folksy-sounding trademark, like Bartles & James. I have always liked these commercials a lot. The jams are OK.

    1. It's not a particularly attractive name, so it must be the product which is so good for it to be successful all these years.

      For example, 'Grandma's Homemade Jam' might sell to folks even though it tastes like artificial sweetener and melted gummi bears.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Steve

        By george this man has got it. It's an ugly name that sounds like it might be a secret obscenity.

        I had an aunt and uncle (since passed) who grew blackcap raspberries. They were only able to sell the better crops to Smucker's (who paid higher prices). During the not-so-hot years they had to sell to Smart and Final Iris.

        1. re: ratgirlagogo

          wow, good to know.

          one of the few things my two grandmother's agreed on was smuckers. of course one liked it with skippy and the other with jif, but they agreed on the smackers.

            1. re: John E.

              Skippy, Smuckers and Jif all sound like the names of childhood pets/dogs.

              1. re: silence9

                When I hear the name Smuckers I think of the Golden Retriever from the Seinfeld episode where the dog had the same cough as Kramer.

      2. I've also wondered that and why they sponsor the segment on the Today show featuring people over 100 years old. What does jam have to do with longevity?

        3 Replies
        1. re: hungryann

          it's not Smucker's per se -- the 100-year birthdays were first started by weatherman Willard Scott back in the day. The segment proved enormously popular, so Smucker's lined up to sponsor it...and it's apparently been good for NBC and Smucker's ever since, if they're still doing it every morning.

          1. re: hungryann

            Everyone knows old people LOVE jam. ;o)

            1. re: hungryann

              It's a perfect match. The product has been around as long as the the celebrating centenarians.

            2. I can't hear the Smuckers slogan without thinking of the SNL skit: "Mangled Baby Ducks! That's right, Mangled Baby Ducks! Picture a jam so good that you’d dare to call it Mangled Baby Ducks! Great Jam! It’s beautiful jam!"

              3 Replies
                  1. re: ricepad

                    I'm with you ricepad. That was the first thing i thought of.
                    To further expand on this. I can't post it here because the mods will take it off. They probably will anyway, but look under Jams in this wiki entry:

                  2. My take on this is that :Smuckers," is not a common name, so if they are sticking with it, and using it on the jar, they are confident that the contents are great.

                    Maybe I am missing something.


                    1. The fact you are asking should answer your question.

                      1. It means the company, J.M. Smucker Company, did research that told them that people trusted the name "Smucker's" and that the name represented a good tasting product. Apparently, their testing showed people responded favorably to the name so they created the slogan to reinforce that feeling. It's advertising 101.

                        Years ago there was a TV commercial that had the announcer saying a particular brand of TV was rated higher than all the others, including Sony. There was a Japanese man yelling words in Japanese on the side of the picture. The announcer said that this particular TV even beat Sony but you know what? Nobody remembers the brand of TV that beat Sony, they only remember how good Sony was. I think the Sony brand is not as strong in the HDTV world as it was in conventional tube televisions, but the point was made.

                        1. Maybe I've been overthinking this all along, but my understanding has always been along these lines: I assume the name Smucker is derived from the German "schmück", which means adornment or decoration. In Yiddish slang, Schmuck is an off-color insult meaning "a jerk", derived from an alternate definition of Schmuck as penis (which I figure is related to "family jewels", an inference from the adornment meaning). So, either the slogan means something along the lines of "if we're going to use this iffy name for our product, it better be a good one to make up for it", or a more direct reference to the main German meaning of adornment or jewel, as in "this product is a real gem".

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: greygarious

                            You're right, you have over-thinked it. The company was started by a guy named Jerome Monre Smucker, that is, J.M. Smucker.

                            1. re: John E.

                              You don't have to over-think it.

                              BTW Smucker is a very common name in NE Ohio but I will not buy their products because of the current co-CEO's political views and their use of HFCS.

                              1. re: Kelli2006

                                Which part did I over-think? I don't eat much jelly or jam because I never acquired the habit. We have so much home-made jam that Smucker's or any other store bought product of its type is even considered, regardless of political views. The only product I avoid because of the political views of the company principals is Ben & Jerry's.

                                1. re: John E.

                                  I was agreeing with you that the founder was Jerome M. Smucker. The products and company has gone downhill since they went public because since that decision they are more focused on profit than quality.

                                  1. re: Kelli2006

                                    What I learned from posting on this thread is that Smucker owns a lot more food products than I ever imagined. Who would have thought that Smucker owns Pillsbury Flour?

                                    1. re: John E.

                                      They own Jif/Crisco, Folgers and a few smaller jam/jelly lines, plus they also package many store brands and brands outside the US.

                                      I grew up eating their ketchup and I miss it because it was almost a jelly instead of the much thinner product such as Heinz.

                                      1. re: Kelli2006

                                        They own that and much more. Read their Wikipedia entry and see a more complete list.

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          Well, I know they also own the Natural Brew soda line. Actually the fact that they did got me out of a lot of trouble in high school and my early colledge days. Becuse the soda comes in a short necked glass bottle, and some of the flavors they sold back then were simply referred to as "brews" (Summer Brew and Winter Brew come to mind) a lot of people assumed that I was drinking beer or wine coolers underage, and some tried to get me in trouble with campus police for this (there is a statement of non-alchholic content, but back then it was only on the top of the bottle cap, which you probably threw in the trash when you opened the bottle. But if I pointed to the part of the label that stated it was produced by Smuckers, they tended to accept my claim it was just soda, as they could not imagine Smuckers peddling alcohol.
                                          On the name, I'm also wondering if they are trying to cash in on some onomonopeid. To some people "smuckers" might conjure up the image of smacking lips, i.e. something tasty.

                              2. re: John E.

                                I know that it's a surname. So is Lipschitz, but can you imagine having to come up with an ad campaign for "Lipschitz Lollipops"? Significant ick factor to be overcome there!

                                1. re: greygarious

                                  I don't think it occurs to most Americans to be bothered by the name Smucker. It is spelled differently and most do not have the language and/or cultural experience to make the connection. Actually, the reverse is true, thus the slogan.

                            2. I am not a fan of Smuckers. A number of years ago we bought a jar of Smuckers jam, probably raspberry. After my wife and I tried it we threw the jar out as it was so sweet we could not eat it. We are on the west coast of Canada, Vancouver. My wife heard there was lower sugar formulation for Canada but if that was low sugar then...
                              Or usual brand is Safeway’s house brand which seems to be the same as the old Empress brand that was made in Canada but is now made in the US.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: dapperdon

                                If you are in western Canada, shouldn't you be eating Canada Jam, formerly Malikin's. I like the cherry best, although as I posted earlier, I don't eat much jam but I like the story of this product.

                              2. AM I making this up, or was the slogan originally "It's got to be good."? I seem to remember cringing at that because I had a great-aunt who's 1890's school marm insisted that "got" was a vulgar word and she defied anyone to find a use of it that could not be replaced. (e.g. "I've got to go" being replaced by "I must go[leave]", "I've got a key to that house" becomes "I have a key to that house." &c. I wondered if some language mavens (Bill Safire's "gotcha gang"...there's a use!) had hounded Smuckers.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: hazelhurst

                                  Hazelhurst--"It's Got Be Good" is the tag Borden's used for many years (and maybe that's what you're remembering as in "If it's Bordens, it's got to be good.") Smuckers' tag has everything to with Schmuck(er) which in the past (and to some extent still) had a deeply pejorative connotation. Lenny Bruce got into trouble for saying it (along with a lot of other words.)

                                  1. re: penthouse pup

                                    OK, the Borden's sounds familiar...I thought Irecalled Mason Adams intoning the "got" and then noticing a change but maybe that is a trickof the mind after all these years.

                                    All the foregoing just reminds me of the time Alfonse D. used a Yiddish word not knowing its true perjorative meaning and they had to run to Koch to get the translation.

                                    1. re: penthouse pup

                                      By the way, Borden's is owned by J.M. Smucker. (Kelli has a long list of things she has to boycott, if she only knew).

                                  2. It's called a "creative" ad slogan.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: beevod

                                      I'm in advertising and beevod has it right. A bunch of guys sitting around a room trying to figure out how to make a jam called Smuckers seem good. I think it is a very clever slogan--and it appears we all know it so that says something.

                                      1. re: escondido123

                                        even though it's the name of the guy that founded the company....

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          Not even though, but because it's his name. I didn't say they made up the name, it was what they had to start with. (Knowing ad agencies they might have suggested changing the name.)

                                          1. re: escondido123

                                            I doubt that he consulted or even heard of advertising agancies when old Jerome started selling apple butter with a push cart.

                                            1. re: Kelli2006

                                              And I doubt he had that slogan at that time. I assume it came at a much later date when they decided to go national.

                                              1. re: Kelli2006

                                                I just checked the Smuckers website; the slogan was created in 1962.

                                      2. Okay folks, I see that I got it right to begin with. Just good to have it confirmed.....

                                        1. wow, i'm the only one that, as a kid, thought the name had a pleasant ring to it? kind of put me in mind of "lip-smacking"....

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                            no you are not the only one that thinks the name has a pleasant ring to it.

                                            I don't eat jam or jelly, so I don't buy the product, but there is a definite connection between the sound of the first syallable>>>smuh and the sound and mouth position of mmmmm.
                                            Simialr to the old Camnpbell's soup commercials mmm mmm good

                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                              A contraction of smack and pucker - imagery of a nice kiss, and certainly more mellifluous than the contemporary "suck face"....

                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                thanks for the validation. I used to eat it a lot as a kid - it's all my parents bought - but i very rarely eat jams/jellies now.

                                              2. re: mariacarmen

                                                That's what I always throught they meant, too...

                                                1. Speaking of Smuckers I love how their Simply Fruit line has pineapple and apple juice in it. If it's simply fruit shouldn't it just be the fruit on the label?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Itsmy6

                                                    not at all -- if the label says Simply Fruit, then that's what's in there. If it said Simply Strawberry, then maybe.

                                                    (but unless there's pineapple or apple juice or something pectin-y in it, it's not going to set very well)

                                                  2. That slogan always makes me laugh. Schmucker is my mother's maiden name.

                                                    1. The original family name was changed from Schmucker to Smoker to Smucker--don't know why. The slogan probably originates due to the fact that J. M. Smucker started selling cider and then apple butter, the containers of which he signed individually indicating the apple butter had his "stamp" of approval. Ergo, if he's willing to sign his name to it, it must be a quality product.