(TIME) — The story of the Dionne quintuplets is a cautionary tale for the age of “kidfluencers”.
They were linked to a range of products that purportedly played a role in their survival; they later said exploitation ruined their lives.
In time, those fans came to associate the quintuplets with a range of products that purportedly played a role in helping them survive, then thrive. Before the age of 2, Annette, Cécile, Marie, Yvonne and Émilie Dionne, collectively, were the cherubic face of Quaker Oats (World Watches Dionne Quins Race to Gain Weight!) Lysol Disinfectant, Libby’s Homogenized Baby Food (A Head Start in Health!) and many other brands. In 1937, the same year their photo would grace the May 31 cover of TIME magazine, their names would become synonymous with Palmolive Soap and Colgate Dental Cream. Over the course of their childhood, Karo Corn Syrup (The food-energy sugar!), Five Flavor Life Savers and Baby Ruth Chocolate bars were also marketed in the name of the quintuplets. That’s despite the fact that the sisters themselves — whose every mood, outburst, intake and bowel movement were meticulously recorded for the sake of “science” — were forbidden from eating sugar.