Dramamine Pays Tribute to the Barf Bag

Dramamine Pays Tribute to the Barf Bag
Published: April 04, 2024

Anti-nausea medicine brand Dramamine is celebrating its 75th anniversary with the release of a short documentary on the barf bag and the launch of a limited-edition collection of barf bags.

Coincidentally, it has also been 75 years since the barf bag was invented by Gilmore Schjeldahl for Northwest Orient Airlines.

Dramamine’s documentary is based on the fact that the effectiveness of its products, which is evidenced by its brand’s growth over the decades, has had a detrimental effect on the production of barf bags.

This dramatized growth chart shows the inverse proportion of growth of Dramamine and barf bags.
A Dramatization of the Dramamine vs. Barf Bag Growth Chart | Source: TheLastBarfBag.com

"We're not saying that Dramamine has caused the demise of the barf bag, but we are saying that Dramamine is effective in minimizing their use, and we feel bad about that," Erica Nesbitt, senior brand manager of Dramamine at Prestige Consumer Health, said in a press release.

Titled “The Last Barf Bag: A Tribute to a Cultural Icon,” the short film was directed by the filmmaking collective Sunny Sixteen: Niles Jeran, Joshua Martin, Taylor Pendleton, and Caleb Babcock.

It features interviews with Dramamine executives, flight attendants, pilots, historians, and, of course, barf-bag collectors.

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A post shared by Dramamine® (@dramamineofficial)

The film opens with a cinematic shot of a man writing a letter, who is later on revealed to be Bruce Kelly, a top barf bag collector.

After a series of people detail their experiences of nausea and being barfed on, as well as a doctor explaining the common ailment, come the feature on four barf bag collectors:

  • “Barf Bag Bob” Grove
  • “Upheave Steve” Silberberg
  • Eli Cox
  • Kelly

It's a wondrous sight to see each of them showing off their massive collections numbering in the thousands, as they share their passion for barf bags, interspersed with historical accounts of the bag’s invention and evolution.

The barf bag collectors featured in the film include Bruce Kelly, Steve Silberberg, Eli Cox and Bob Grove.
The Barf Bag Collectors Featured in the Documentary | Source: TheLastBarfBag.com

Then, Frank Paukowitz, senior marketing director of Dramamine, starts reading a letter written by Kelly some time ago.

“I’m writing you on behalf of the barf bag community. We’ve noticed for a while that quality barf bags are getting harder to find. People rarely use them anymore, and they certainly don’t appreciate them,” Kelly wrote.

“Your product works well, but we wonder if it maybe works a little too well. If people aren’t barfing, they aren’t using barf bags,” he added.

Kelly’s letter illustrates the essence of the film and also seems to act as the impetus for the creation of the documentary.

The video ends with a montage showing how barf bags are being used as anything else other than a barf bag, with some even using it as a popcorn bag, as Paukowitz hangs Kelly’s letter in a frame on his wall.

Reviving Barf Bags for Collectors

"The Last Barf Bag" campaign includes the launch of the “This is Not A Barf Bag” collection, where people can purchase 10 different limited-edition designs for only $5.

Dramamine's 'This Is Not A Barf Bag' collection is available at its online shop.
Dramamine's 'This Is Not A Barf Bag' Collection | Source: TheLastBarfBag.com

Each barf bag comes with a Dramamine product, but all designs can also be purchased collectively for only $10.

Dramamine also collaborated with artist and creative director Jessie Bearden to create a puffer jacket made out of vintage barf bags.

The barf bag puffer jacket is designed by Jessie Bearden using vintage barf bags.
Jennie Bearden's Barf Bag Puffer Jacket | Source: TheLastBarfBag.com

“I use a lot of unorthodox materials in my work, but a barf bag is a first! The unique look of vintage barf bags and their various colors and designs make a great template for a one-of-a-kind textile,” Bearden said.

The first buyer who checks out the puffer jacket on April 17 will get the unique piece.

Barf Bags in Real Life

As a mom to nine dogs — two of them having extreme motion sickness — I sadly know how it feels to have puke all over you.

My dogs have been prescribed by their vet some motion sickness pills, which they take every time we travel.

While we used to stock up on barf bags we get during our flights, storing them in the glove compartments of our cars, there’s just no need anymore.

So, I can relate to how motion sickness meds like Dramamine have made barf bags irrelevant.

Watch How Cadbury Remade an Old Ad for Its 200th Anniversary
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