Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Day Of The Detergent

There must have been a theory once that 3 letters was the optimal amount for a detergent name. And the bigger the letters the better.
I'm guessing that this was so that you could see the box from over a hundred miles away.Or maybe the ad men just figured the American public could only remember monosyllabic words.
They must have run out of creativity after a while and started coming up with four letter one syllable words. What's wrong with PUZ, SYZ, LEP, SUK, PUD, NIT, TWA, SOP, FEP, TOX, GIK, ITP, PMA...?
Uh-oh, this might be getting too complicated for the masses.

I like the simple designs though.
Dreft is a classic. Some ad genius went against the current thinking and came up with a word that actually takes some tongular dexterity.

What a great name and design! You get a free Chix with every Dreft you buy too!

The ads follow the same old easy to read hierarchical thinking.




Judy Garland got her beautiful complexion and singing voice by washing her vocal chords in the toilet with LUX Larynx soap.

Here she is looking just like Barney Fife and singing with extreme virtuosity one of the most emotional songs ever written.


She could only pull that off with the right toilet soap. Look what it did for her hair too. That scouring pad on your head look that was so popular in the 60s. Seriously though, I think she is a genius.


Here's a great design for tooth detergent.

I bet all these products sponsored their own TV shows too and we got to see rich stars doing their own washing and even brushing their own teeth. Maybe Rochester brushed Jack Benny's teeth after each long smooth Lucky Strike cigarette.

16 comments:

Brookes said...

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Take that, Electrosol.

Jay Taylor said...

See the Duz ad that says, "FOR WHITE WHITE WASHES…"?

These days that'd be considered racist.

Zoran Taylor said...

Something about "Hexa-Fluoride" doesn't sit quite right with me....

I actually OWN a box of this stuff. No joke.

Rusty Spell said...

One of my favorite things about watching *The Andy Griffith Show* on DVD is that the disc includes the commercials the cast creates for Post Toasties, Sanka, Jello, etc. The "plot" of the commercials are always related to the episode.

RooniMan said...

I'd take Lux over Tide any day.

talkingtj said...

ah the post nuclear american paradise, products for every conceivable misfortune all located in your local supermarket in brightly colored boxes with monosyllabic names, now i know what to do about those pesky runs in my stockings! no more shameful looks from the opposite sex for me! thanks john!

Steve Hogan said...

Buy DREFT and your baby can poop all over little Robin Hood!

Judy may not look so hot in that YouTube clip, but you gotta check her out in the "A Great Lady Has An Interview" sequence of THE ZEIGFELD FOLLIES. Va-va-VOOM!

Sven Hoek said...

Now RAW-chester, you need to use an up and down motion with that toothbrush not back and forth.

Sorry Mr. Benny, Yowza bozz.

Whit said...

"The Man That Got Away" was written by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, who also wrote the songs for "The Wizard of Oz" at MGM. They're both dead now.

thomas said...

My first time traveling overseas, I was suprised at how small European washers were, and are still today. These detergent boxes reflect America's Post WWII dominance on the world stage of cleanliness.

I'm picturing a box of AMERI-CLEAN. Red White and Blue... maybe a nuclear cloud.. that might be going too far... NUK- U- CLEAN... nah....

Chris said...

Genius designs all of them! I forget where I heard the expression, but it rings true for these layout and design asthetics - "Make it so simple, you can't cheat."

Zoran Taylor said...

I love the actually-modestly-sized "Giant Economy Size" box. What does that even mean? Is it only for giant economies? Not this one, that's for sure.

Zoran Taylor said...

"Tongular Dexterity".

I'm typing that so I'll remember it later.

Tongular dexterity....

Marty Fugate said...

What exactly is that sexy Italian soapsuds icon lady doing on the other side of that 20-foot box of Vel? Is she expecting somebody?

Just curious.

jhalton said...

I think it's watching all the old school design references on Ren & Stimpy that led me to being a graphic designer, thanks!

Keep posting these too, really appreciate it

rodineisilveira said...

Johnny K.,

Do you remember of the Unilever's Rinso detergent?