|Mothra, copyright 1961 Toho Co., Ltd.|
by Armand Vaquer
One of the earliest examples of product placement in Toho’s daikaiju eiga movies during the Showa (or Golden) Age of Japanese giant monster movies was an ad in Godzilla (1954) for a Japanese motorcycle company. Another example was Bireley’s soft drinks.
Around 1923, Frank W. Bireley was a student of very modest financial means and was trying to earn his way to attend Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. He bought an orange squeezer and a few crocks and began to squeeze orange juice and made orangeade. He offered it to restaurants, hotels and campus eating clubs in the area.
In two months, Bireley's business had grown so big that he quit school and moved to Hollywood, California where he was soon able to buy orange squeezing machines. By 1939, his company was squeezing 144,000,000 oranges a year.
In 1930, Bireley's introduced the orange soda drink. Bireley's was a pasteurized fruit drink made from blended fruit juices, and was not carbonated.
Bireley's began to market other fruit drink products in the United States and around the world. Bireley's was licensed in several Asian countries, including Japan. In Mothra (1961), a Bireley's sign is prominent in a scene as Mothra's larva makes its way to Tokyo Tower. The Bireley’s sign has turned up in other Toho kaiju movies.
Bireley's is still available in Japan.