The saying "more bang for the/your buck" that is more value in exchange for money or effort has been around since the '50s probably from an adaptation of Pepsi-Cola's 'More Bounce to the Ounce' slogan, which was introduced in 1950" and Ngram shows a considerable increase in usage from the '80s and '90s.
According to the The Phrase Finder:
Most sources credit US Defense Secretary Charles Wilson as the source of the expression 'more bang for your buck'. These invariably point to him having used the phrase in 1953. However, Wilson wasn't the person who coined the phrase, although its increased use in a military context during the time of the Eisenhower administration did bring the expression to wider use.
The first citation of the phrase in print that I can find is an advert in Metals and Plastics Publications, 1940. No advertiser would use a colloquial expression in an advert unless it was understandable to his audience, so I expect there are earlier citations yet to be found.
The following is from the scientific publication, Milestones in Analytical Chemistry, and appears to be from 1935:
- By using mathematics and statistics to improve the measurement process, the analytical chemist can get the most out of the data — more analytical bang for your buck, if you will. One aspect of this new specialty was the transform domain.
An article on Minds.com suggests that:
While evidence would suggest the phrase is spawned of military and political circles, there is another possible theory of origin; that it comes from the explosives and mining industry, where it referred to the amount of explosive power per unit of explosive purchased.
Furthermore, some people are convinced that the saying came out of prostitution, and referred to the tendency for men who solicit prostitutes to hire those who would work for longer, or be more exciting. The timeline would it was possible, with the first use of ‘Bang’ meaning “have sexual intercourse with” first being recorded 1937.
- Was the saying an adaptation from the Pepsi-Cola ad, or was it an expression already in usage at that time? and if so, what is its origin?
- What made the expression so popular through the '80s and '90s? was it used in a famous TV ad for instance?