Picture this: the year is 1957 and inventor Harold von Braunhut is looking for the next big thing following Milton Levine’s ant farm success just one year prior. He struck on the idea of packaging a mix of nutrients and chemicals that when combined with tap water would create the ideal environment for brine shrimp to thrive. Initially sales were terrible until he started advertising heavily in comic books under the name “Instant Life” (later changed to the now famous Sea-Monkeys).
Although this advertising campaign and rebranding lead to moderate financial success, the longevity of the shrimp left much to be desired and customers were growing frustrated that their “sea-monkeys” really lived to see a second month of life. To this end Braunhut channeled profit into biological research to produce ever hardier versions of his product. Major breakthroughs occurred in 1970 and 1995 and were so successful that packaging now guarantees the shrimp will live at least 2 years.
Eventually his company partnered with ExploraToy and took “Sea-Monkeys” to the next level. There was a time when Sea-Monkeys had its own television show and line of videogames. They’ve even been sent to space on two separate occasions.
For a more in depth look at these little guys check out the video below.
And check out this vintage ad from the 70’s!