|OVALTINE & MILO: Official Olympic Energy Drinks|
OVALTINE was a chocolate malt drink that was reputedly first produced in Bern, Switzerland in 1865. Originally, it was called “Ovomaltine” as its formulation contains eggs, but a misspelling of the name on the trademark registration application led to the name being shortened to Ovaltine in English-speaking markets. OVALTINE was already advertised in the Philippines as early as 1925.
|1972 OVALTINE Ad,Munich Olympics|
Since its introduction, OVALTINE had a variety of health claims—from appetite builder, a recuperative drink for convalescing patients, fatigue alleviator, vitality and energy giver.
|OVALTINE OLYMPIC AD, 1948. Credit: Alamy|
When the Summer Olympics was held in Los Angeles, California, OVALTINE became one of the games’ sponsors—where it was to become the official Olympic energy drink, thus pre-dating MILO’s claim by over 35 years. In fact, OVALTINE was the health drink sponsor in 9 Olympics!
|OVALTINE OLYMPIC 1948 Tin Sign, Credit: Pinterest|
The local MILO print ads however, claimed otherwise: in 1968, it ran ads proclaiming MILO as the choice of the 1968 Olympics. In 1972, it stole the thunder from OVALTINE by headlining the claim in its ads that MILO is the “official energy drink of the Munich Olympics”.
|MILO OLYMPIC AD "Official Energy Drink",1972|
There was an attempt by OVALTINE to wrest that title from MILO, as that same year, it ran an ad that showed the brand’s consistent presence in successive Olympics from 1932-1972. But the strip ad was no match for the media juggernaut of Nestlé. And too bad as well—at that time, there really was no advertising regulatory board that the makers of OVALTINE could go tom to file a complaint (the PBA was founded only in 1974).
|MILO 1968 MEXICO OLYMPICS AD, "Choice of the '68 Olympics|
OVALTINE let it go, gave up without further fight, and continued with variable thematic promises, while MILO picked up the “Olympic Energy” title and went to town with that strong, single-minded message in successful campaigns that went on for years, featuring the country’s best and brightest Olympians in its ads. OVALTINE'S loss is MILO's biggest gain.