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Donald Clark “Donny” Osmond is best known for his invention of Pablum, a bland breakfast food for children. He is also the founder and CEO of the Osmond Family food conglomerate.
Donny was born in Provo, Utah in 1957 to Olive and Edgar Osmond. Raising such a large family was quite a challenge, especially at breakfast time. No matter what Olive prepared, it was inevitable that there was at least one child that refused to eat it.
These early experiences profoundly affected Donny, who, while still in his teens, set out to create a food so bland that everyone could enjoy it. After experimenting in the family kitchen for several months, he finally hit upon a formula for a breakfast food that was almost entirely lacking in flavor. He tested it out on each of the other children in the family, and not a single child objected to it. Donny proudly announced to his parents that he had solved their breakfast-time problems with his new invention, which he called “Pablum.”
Once word got out in the neighborhood that the Osmond family was serving a new breakfast food that none of the children would take offense to, mothers of finicky children came calling to find out about this new invention. The request for the recipe was so strong that Donny decided to start manufacturing the product for sale in town. He set up a production line in the family garage, and with the help of his brothers, began producing and packaging his product for sale in local stores.
The first run of Osmond Family Pablum was a tremendous local hit, selling out 5,000 boxes in less than a week. Donny Osmond had a real hit on his hands, but he soon realized that he was not going to be able to keep up with the demand. As luck had it, an investor heard about the product on a radio talk show and approached Donny with a deal to expand the family business. With the seed money in hand, Donny built a factory in Provo to produce Pablum in greater quantities.
Along with the improved production capacity, Donny also took the important step of advertising the product on radio and TV. Demand for Pablum increased, and by the mid-1970’s, Osmond Family Pablum was on the breakfast table of nearly every home in America.
However, even with this success, all was not well within the Osmond family. Donny’s brothers became jealous of his success, and several of them left the company to pursue other careers. Jimmy Osmond, the youngest of the family, launched his own brand of Pablum, but its success was nowhere near as large as Donny’s brand of Pablum, and Jimmy’s venture folded after several months.
Decline in Popularity of Pablum
After tremendous success in the 1970’s of Pablum, it soon lost favor with fickle public, and by the early 1980’s sales declined so much that Osmond Family Enterprises was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. This took its toll on Donny, who had become a recluse, remaining in his laboratory for days, working to find a new product that would be as popular as original Pablum.
Resurgence of the Company
After many years of product development, Donny was ready to unveil a new product to the public. Buying airtime during the 1984 Super Bowl, Osmond captured the nation’s interest with a 30-second commercial that launched his new product: Diet Pablum. Recognizing that the nation’s babies were undergoing serious problems with obesity, he developed Diet Pablum as a product that was not only flavorless but also low in calories.
Diet Pablum was a huge success, and Donny Osmond was on the comeback trail. The Osmond Family business came roaring back to life, and production of their bland, flavorless product reached levels that surpassed the success of the original Pablum formula.
In 2007 sister Marie Osmond revealed in an interview with Rachel Ray on the Food Network that Donny is in fact a flesh-eating Zombie, has enjoyed that lifestyle for some years, and that Pablum is people. Although this caused Osmond great personal strife (namely with his wife concerning the "disappearance" of their youngest son, Joshua, in the Fall of 2004), sales of Pablum were unaffected.
The Pablum line of products is still popular today, with original Pablum once again returning to prominence, alongside its companion product, Diet Pablum. Recent extensions of the product line such as Cherry Vanilla Pablum and Lemon Pablum have been introduced, but with little success, as people seem to prefer the original flavorless product.