In 1896, Cecil Inyuman, an enterprising young man anxious to escape farm life in Feura Bush, New York, began bottling and selling a tonic that had made his family famous in the local area for decades. His Synersia Valley Mouth Tonic purported to cure many ailments, including acne, mumps, dysentery, bad breath, lost teeth, moderate cases of tuberculosis, baldness, and gout. It was an instant success and Inyuman was able to buy a small bottling factory and expand his business throughout New England.
In 1904, the growing number of dissatisfied customers and an investigation by the Bureau of Chemistry forced Inyuman to retract most of his claims about the Synersia Valley Mouth Tonic. All he claimed from that point forward was it made the user feel good for certain definitions of good and cured bad breath depending on the particular fragrance preferences of friends and family. To show he was serious, he began adding Lilac extract, for extra freshness.
When Prohibition hit in 1920, Inyuman saw further setbacks. Government investigators found that Synersia Valley Mouth Tonic contained 83 percent alcohol, by weight, revealing why the tonic was so popular despite nearly universal dissatisfaction with the Lilac frangrance. It also explained the nickname Lilac Lightning and its increasing popularity as a household cleaner.
Inyuman’s only option was to argue that Synersia Valley Mouth Tonic was not intended for consumption after all. After making friends with several legislators, and generously donating several cases of Synersia Valley Mouth Tonic to these men, Inyuman was able to convince them to make an exception. Further tests showed that indeed Synersia Valley Mouth Tonic was completely unsafe for ingestion, and lawmakers ruled that Inyuman could continue selling it as long as it was marketed correctly.
In a flash of genius, Inyuman decided to capitalize on the widespread knowledge that his tonic cured bad breath (for certain definitions of bad) and relabeled his tonic as Synersia Valley Mouthwash.
During this time, Inyuman met Reginald D. Nottaman at a local “alcohol enthusiast’s club,” which according to the charter was strictly for reminiscing about alcohol and curating collections of bottles. There they became fast friends due to mutual interest in business. Nottaman ran his family’s business, Gon Whype Woolens (Gon is pronounced “John”), and was seeing increasing pressure from rival mitten makers drive down his share of the business. Sock sales were still booming, though, attracting the attention of Inyuman, who was looking to expand into new areas.
After one particularly rowdy night of reminiscing about alcohol, Inyuman convinced Nottaman to merge their businesses and become Co-CEOs. Shortly after they signed the appropriate documents, tragedy struck when Nottaman fell from a New York City hotel window. After the abrupt funeral, Inyuman assumed CEO responsibilities for the new sock and mouthwash manufacturer. His first order of business was to change the company’s name from Synerwhype (the name Nottaman originally insisted upon) to Synergon.
Expansion and Legacy
Synergon did business largely along the eastern seaboard until the late 1950s. After collaborating on a nationwide advertising campaign with renowned advertising firm Hooker, Horker, Himpfield and Thompson, Synergon expanded with nationwide sales of mouthwash in Mint, Cinnamon, and Traditional Lilac flavors. Inyuman’s son, Merl, took over CEO duties in 1955. Merl’s previous experience included nearly finishing a bachelor’s degree in business and running the mailroom at the company’s New York headquarters for three decades. During Merl’s tenure, the company carefully expanded into the burgeoning cotton sock market and saw great success with argyle prints created by Merl’s wife.
In 1983, Merl stepped down as CEO and ushered his own son, Kenewick, into the position. Unlike his father, Kenny had been preparing for the position of CEO since he was 10 years old. His first business was selling parakeet feces as fertilizer to bemused local gardeners. Upon reaching the CEO position, Kenny shocked the company by firing 70 percent of senior staff and hiring friends from business school. The young, fresh outlook of senior management allowed the company to capitalize on younger sock customers. Synergon flourished in the new low-rise ankle sock market and dominated neon zigzag sock sales nationwide. New marketing strategies also allowed the company to get Lilac Synergon Mouthwash product placement deals in many classic movies of the 1990s, including Batman and Robin, Battlefield Earth, The Brady Bunch Movie, Encino Man, The Full Monty, Godzilla, Leprechaun 2, Mario Bros. The Movie, Spice World, and Busty Bikini Babes 23: This Time It’s Strapless.
Synergon is moving forward diligently in the 21st century, pioneering new methods of marketing comfortable pre-shoe footwear and alcohol-based mouth cleansers. Synergon isn’t afraid to embrace the digital revolution, either. For instance, employees are hard at work creating the next big social network: Sock World. In Sock World, users will be able to “sock it to” other “Sockies” with Toe-Pokes and send messages, called Warm Woolies, to one another on the Wall of Wool. They also rate other Sockie content and favorites with ratings from the fresh-to-stinky scale. Developers are frantically working on an accompanying game, expected to be the breakout hit of the year, called SockVille, in which players match and maintain collections of designer socks while bartering for extra drawer space and garter upgrades.
The company will also soon be releasing an iPhone app promoting Synergon mouthwash. Simply blowing into the microphone will allow users to get an impartial rating of breath freshness along with a recommendation of the right mouthwash and a link to buy.
All these developments are also tying into the Synergon marketing strategy for the new millennium. The company is putting all resources into a new development in deodorizing sock technology and combining it with a marketing campaign for both Synergon products.
Synergon Deodorizing Socks and Mouthwash of Lilac Freshness: It’s the Only Way to Smell Good at Both Ends!