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Los Angeles circa 1954-57. "Anacin: Faster, safer relief from tense, nervous headaches." Our first in series of billboard photos from the files of Pacific Outdoor Advertising. View full size.

Los Angeles circa 1954-57. "Anacin: Faster, safer relief from tense, nervous headaches." Our first in series of billboard photos from the files of Pacific Outdoor Advertising. View full size.

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Poor Betty

Anacin Lady looks like Betty Crocker when her perfect pancake flopped.

Got any APC's?

Back in my military days the readily available small box of Aspirin, Phenacetin, and Caffeine tablets were called APC's, which stood for All Purpose Capsules.


The previous poster was close--generics of Anacin were called APCs for aspirin, phenacetin and caffeine.

The Screaming Skull

The model looks a lot like Peggy Webber.

Other names

Anacin was sometimes called "ACP", maybe by the military, and "Combination of Ingredients" in competitors' commercials.

Head-clutchingly painful

That woman’s face and grip are so disturbing that I almost expect her to rip the mask off her head and reveal the alien or monster pounding from inside to be released.

Oh, boy!

These old billboards are going to be fun! And I completely agree with Vonderbees about the Anacin commercial being a great memory.

"Nervous Headache"

Anacin is (and always has been) just a mixture of aspirin and caffeine. It's very similar to Excedrin and Excedrin Migrane (which are exactly the same - aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine - and a lot more of it). As a long-time migraine sufferer, aspirin and caffeine seem to have very good effects on migraines, far better than just plain aspirin. Acetaminophen seems to *cause* headaches for me and others. So Anacin really does work pretty well in some cases.

BTW, the part about "cannot upset your stomach" is nonsense, it varies from person to person but uncoated aspirin can make it feel like you swallowed Drano!

[According to the text on the billboard, the main active ingredient in 1950s Anacin was acetophenetidin, now regarded as a carcinogen. According to Dr. Wiki, "Phenacetin (acetophenetidin, N-(4-ethoxyphenyl)acetamide) is a pain-relieving and fever-reducing drug, which was widely used following its introduction in 1887. It was withdrawn from medicinal use as dangerous from the 1970s (withdrawn in Canada in 1973, and by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1983)." -Dave]

A grand spectacle

Looking at that billboard makes me, too, want to clutch my head and grimace -- thinking about the cost! It's really a tour-de-force of the billboard art form ... huge, custom-cut letters in the brand's font; a perfectly-rendered package, offset for 3D emphasis; and that giant, amazing depiction of our heroine and her anguish, again breaking the boundaries of the billboard frame. This example is cut from the same cloth as the famous Times Square smoke-ring-blowing billboard I saw as a kid - really transcendent, in terms of drawing the viewer into its message. Executing a diorama like this would have to cost well into six figures these days; and the impact can't be matched by the computer-printed vinyl tarpaulins we see stretched across the billboard frames of today.

Billboard missed their target audience

Instead of showing an attractive woman with a cool bracelet rubbing her head, Anacin should have shown that same woman behind the wheel of a car with four kids and three dogs inside with her. My blessed mother would have immediately identified.


This brings back memories of the tiny tin of Anacin my mother always kept in her handbag for ... er, nervous headaches. She'd reach in there and grab the tin which for some reason fascinated me. Pry it open, pop a few Anacin with a big swig of ice-cold Co-cola, and in no time that line between her eyebrows smoothed out and her gaze became brighter and she was less irritable. I guess I should order a case of this without delay.

Fast, effective marketing!


Well ... I am now!

Tense? Nervous?

Then aspirin with a big ol' dose of caffeine will calm you down!

How foresightful!

In 1956 she was already thinking about the 2020 election!

Mother, Please --

Brings back memories of one of the great TV commercials of my childhood.


Can't wait for this series!

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