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Tupperware - Ultra 21: The Beginning (1984)

Don Stokes

Sound | 1984

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TAMI Tags
  •  Tupperware history 
  •  venture into microwave cookware market 
  •  product development 
  •  product design 
  •  product testing 
  •  test kitchen 
  •  customer testing 
  •  production plant constructed 
 
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This industrial film, produced by Bill Stokes Associates for Tupperware, explores the development and production of Ultra 21, Tupperware’s attempt to create a line of cookware that could be used in the freezer, refrigerator, microwave, and oven. In the late 1970s, the microwave oven had a large user base in Japan and the United States. Tupperware, a very popular cookware line, had no products specifically designed to work in the microwave, and was wary of developing such a product. The company began to research a new material that could be used in the freezer, microwave, or oven in 1978. In the early 1980s, Tupperware felt that it had been successful and set out to design a cookware line with the new material, now christened Ultra 21. A new production plant was built in Augusta, GA and Tupperware began an aggressive publicity program before the product was even on the market. By 1985, Ultra 21 was in the hands of the consumer. Unfortunately for Tupperware, Ultra 21 turned out to much more expensive to manufacture than it had originally projected. Furthermore, the product did not live up to its promises and was easily cracked and stained with regular use. Tupperware ceased production on Ultra 21 at the end of the 1980s and Ultra 21 is often blamed for a drop in the earnings of Tupperware.
Formed in 1965, Bill Stokes Associates (later to be known as The Stokes Group) was a Dallas-based production company that made industrial and promotional films for a range of clients spanning from Mary Kay Cosmetics to the United States Navy. In 1966, Bill Stokes Associates provided sound stage and production services for the film 1967 Bonnie and Clyde. Bill Stokes has been honored by the Dallas Producers Association with a Film Pioneer Award.