Pink Pills for Pale People
In 1890, Fulford bought rights to Jackson's curative blend of iron sulfate, sugar and starch for $53.01, and established Dr Williams Medicine Company. The iron supplement's ingredients varied by country.
Fulford "moved to tap the thriving market for medicinal products by setting up his own patent-medicine company," said Paul Adolphus Bator in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. "He experimented with a variety of concoctions but met with little success until he encountered a pill prescribed by a local physician, William Jackson."
He named the flagship product Dr. Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People and began an aggressive marketing campaign.
Without medical coverage or provincial medical plans, visits to the doctor were pricey for the average person. The pink pills were an affordable remedy. Often sold in boxes of 40 for 50 cents, or six boxes for $2.50, the "unfailing blood builder and nerve tonic" came in a paper wrapper with the name in red ink. The medicine was guaranteed to contain no opiates or narcotics.
Fulford spent large sums on advertising during the first 10 years of the 1900s. His prolific advertisements were written by John A. Mackenzie, the owner of the Prescott Telegraph. The ads were easy to read, listing enough ailments to capture almost every suffering reader's attention.
The advertisements stressed the importance of getting the real "Dr. Williams" product instead of an impostor.
From Canada and the United States to Australia, England, Germany, Hong Kong, France, South Africa, and many other countries, the pink pills were available for purchase through international retailers or by mail. Fulford's U.S. branch was in Schenectady, N.Y.
Newspapers were the best method of advertising the pink pills. Fulford's use of large-scale newspaper testimonial advertising helped expand his business internationally.