Friday, 9 November 2012


Advertising up until the 19th century was predominantly known for it's advertising based solely on text, and not so much image. The large-scale colour printing was developed in the 19th century, allowing art to feature on their designs. The first example of this was soap by the Lever Brothers, who were known for putting contemporary art at the time on to their packaging. Often featured were paintings showing white, clean linen or clean clothes. This strategy was seen as clever and took the Lever Brothers forward with creative advertising.

"Sunlight gets the Washing done Leaving Time for Sport and Fun"

Advertising poster for Sunlight Soap - giving the impression it gets all the hard work done, so children can play around and have fun in their clean clothes.
Source: flickr

Source: flickr

The Lever Brothers were the first soap company to cut up a block of soap into smaller, sellable bars and stamped it with the branding of the soap. "I was the first to advertise extensively (and pre-package) a tablet of soap... the result was I lifted Sunlight soap to a class by itself" (Lever in Lewis, 2008, p62). This can be seen on the image above. 

"an area of art history neglected... where art and technology meet" (Elton, 1968, pvii)

The beginning by Wight:

- Advertising, the most fun you can have with your clothes on! (R4, 209)
- Robin Wight (WCRS) - 118 118 and The Future's Bright, The Future is Orange Campaigns.

- William Hesker Lever (1851-1925), Lever Bros (To become Unilever)

Source: aadip9
"Lever Brothers, the American arm of the Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilevera manufacturer of cleaning products."

- Bill Bernbach (1911-1982) (DDB) First to combine copywriters and art directors

Sunlight Vision:

- Lever Brothers James Darcy and William Hesketh Lever are the founders of Unilever.
- Unilever currently owns around 900 brands including Dove, Vaseline, Ben & Jerry's, Lux, Persil and Bird's Eye amongst many more.

Source: juliahailesblog

1851 Great Exhibition:

The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations or The Great Exhibition, sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition in reference to the temporary structure in which it was held, was an international exhibition that took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October 1851. It was the first in a series of World's Fair exhibitions of culture and industry that were to become a popular 19th-century feature. (wiki

The exhibition featured everything from diamonds, jewellery and textiles to fax machines, materials such as steel, and reaping machines which were sent in from the United States. Some, mainly conservatives, feared that a large amount of people could be there to start a revolutionary mob and uproar. Whilst radicals thought it was "an emblem of the capitalist fetishism of commodities" - Wiki 

"Colour printing on a larger scale was not practised until well into the nineteenth century... with the publications generated by the Great Exhibition of 1851" (Elton, 1962, p70)

Unknown Source

Printed Advertising became increasingly popular in the 19th century, due to the increase in mass consumerism and creative advertising strategies - "An essential component of any competitive market economy: driving growth and dynamism" (Hegarty, 2001, p7)

Pre-packaging (Lewis, 2008):

-1860s cereal companies figured out how to print, fold and fill cardboard boxes mechanically. For example, John and William Kellog, mass cereal producers, who are now recognised globally.
-Soap was sold in long bars to grocers, who stamped and then sliced up, for example, Lush do this with their soaps and products.

Advertising Boom: 

Advertising aided by tax cuts on newspapers, in 1855 and paper, in 1861. The press in general owe much to advertising, and therefore are interdependent. This backed up by when News of The World went under, due to advertisers backing out on deals.

Printing Boom:

Technological process production and colour printing were popularised, with pictorial ads were published in magazines from the 1880s onwards. In the 1890s new technology allowed contemporary paintings to be reproduced, and used on products such as the, Sunlight soap published advertisements as shown above. Again something which really helped the shape of advertising around the beginning.

1890s Printing Deptartment

All about Lever:

Co-Founder of Lever Bros, established in 1865. Around 1851, international routes for trade were established allowing globalisation of his products. The International exhibition, prompted the development and manufacture of large scale colour printing. Advertising was established and boomed by the tax reliefs in the 1850s and 60s. Pre-packing technology was developed in the 1860s, which as already noted was used by Lever for his soap brand, Sunlight.. In the 1880s colour images reproductions of art work came to life more, and in the 1890s reproductions of paintings were being produced.

Advertising and Printing soon transformed Lever into a globally recognised multinational companies, advertising all over the world. This came around in 1885. Lever transformed to Unilever in1930 due to the enormity the company had become.

"Colourful innovative advertising was crucial to Lever's success" - Port Sunlight Museum, 2009.

Source: bridgemanart

Advertisements from around 1910, for Lever's soap brands, Sunlight and Lux.
Both would of been seen as contemporary due to the art at the time, and the white linen gives a sense of cleanliness. 

First Creative Advertising:

This consists of selecting and presenting contemporary art, which communicate and deliver a powerful message in an interesting and innovative way. Lever did this by changing the meanings of images to his own liking and advantage with using simple headlines. Sunlight and Lux advertising was gone about in such a way that it had never been done before, and stood out. The advertisements themselves were seen as a piece of artwork at the time, and if you were dedicated enough to collect vouchers on products, you could get a print of the advert. 

"Advertising, from the moment it was born, it was trying to entertain us" (Hegarty, 2011, p9)

First Creative Agencies:

Late 19th century ad agencies sold space in newspapers for commission/negotiations. The client always created the content, the newspaper simply displayed it. This changed however with US publications followed fixed rates to clients, and then moving on into the 20th century advertising agencies offered full comprehensive creative services at negotiated and discussed rates.

Aftermath; Creative Advertising on a Global Scale

Advertising took off globally, and the main products which were first to be advertised were medicines, chocolates and soap manufacturers such as the Lever bros. Sunlight Soap are an example of one of the first products to feature in an internationally recognised advertising campaign.

Product placement and brand loyalty became more dominant as time went on, and advertisements began to alter to accommodate this. Products would be placed in the printed ad's as well as in TV shows etc, as it would further escalate too. 

Source: magnoliabox

The Wedding Morning, 1892, John Henry Frederick Bacn. Leverhulme bought this painting from the 1892 Royal Academy, specifically to use as an advertisement for Sunlight Soap. In the advert a bar of soap replaced the clock and cup, echoing brand loyalty on such an important day, with beautiful white linen and obvious product placement. 

Queen of Soaps:

Royal endorsement from the Lever Bros soap makers to Queen Victoria, the reigning Queen of Great Britain at the time. Some opposed this democratisation, whilst others endorsed it. The statement read, "Queens will have only the best.. Sunlight soap is so cheap, everybody can afford to use it". 

Wrapper Promotions:

In the 1890s Sunlight Soap issued a magazine ad, and then in 1903, they started a 'wrapper scheme', offering soap in return. 

Targeting children as an audience through advertising is one of the most commonly used methods, still to this day. In the 1890s, purchases of Sunlight soap received paper dolls, and they also received alternate paper outfits to play dress up with. There was also a scheme for Lifebuoy soap coupons for encyclopaedias. By including free items or being suggestive with royal approval, wrapper promotions and vouchers, Sunlight managed to vary their advertising to it's full potential. 

Other products were directed at mothers, ensuring a lifetime of brand loyalty and associations with the brand, to make them feel like they are buying into a trusted, deliverable brand, such as Dove.

Investments in Advertising:

Lever spent £2m in the first two decades of making soap on advertising and promotion. In 1899 Lever purchased a Philadelphia soap firm - owner Sidney Gross became a director. "Gross was expert at picking the right artist for advertisements" - Lewis, 2008, p.69

Art Direction was introduced into Advertising

There was a sense of collaborative creativity which was introduced into the Advertising world. Lever employed national and international expertise on the field, as well as an overseer of advertising. The person allocated this position would be needed to constantly research and study the art form that is creative advertising. They sent examples of American adverts across the company (colour magazine) creating discussion. This eventually advocated truth in advertising, as falsehood in advertising is seen as a liability - Lewis (2008)

As advertising became larger, firms became fussy as to where they advertised and avoided the lower class newspapers, trying to appeal to a high quality of print and audience so to speak. 

"The power of truth... the trick is to tell the truth but make it interesting. Truth can be disarming" - Hegarty, 2009


Most of the Lever ads for Sunlight, especially in the early days emphasised that Sunlight Soap would help women in their day to day life, making tasks quick and simple. 
Answer: Washing day toll. Solution: Sunlight Soap
Copy: a girl of 12 or 13 years old can do a large wash without being tired, due to the easiness of it, which becomes a repeated theme.

Targeting the Audience:

The copyright in Sunlight Soap ads spoke directly to working-class housewives who looked after their husbands whilst they were at work, performing daily duties such as laundry, cooking and cleaning. 
The 'Salvation of Sunlight' is said to improve the life of the user, making duties easy and quick, leaving them not tired or worn out throughout the day, and leaves quality time for romance and a relationship. 

World Domination: 

20th Century Lever, used different international agencies around the world, to get their campaigns out and shown to the public. Domestic and imperial markets appreciated the Britishness of the product and campaign and therefore suited all. The imagery was royal backing up the Queen's statement. 

Imperial Mission (Lewis):

Lewis wanted to civilise the campaigns, and thought that the washing and cleaning sense of product and advertisement choices gave a narrative of the working classes in Britain to be unwashed.  In Britain advertising posters and packaging brought the audience the notion of imperialism as begnin - Lewis, 2008, p79. The advertising empire was celebrated on biscuits, cigarettes, soap, chocolate, which were seen as standard working class items. 

The successful global campaign:

Lever achieved what he wanted by "[convincing] people all over the world that they did not just want this product, they needed it" - Port Sunlight Museum, 2009. This escalated, and caused a world phenomenon with advertisements. But how:

- Victorians conquered the world and the problem of corporeal aromas
- Sanitary achievements, drains, sewage and soap were in tact.
- Advertisers made it their business to persuade consumers of their hygiene problems, making them almost buy into the product and brand, because "they needed it".

Internationally recognised personal hygiene brand, Lynx, could on to this high-feeling strategy for advertising, telling people they simply need it; not just to smell nice and be clean, but to attract girls.

"The message was clear, if one wished to gain or retain a partner, a job, a reputation and self esteem, one needed to attend to personal hygiene... saes skyrocketed" (Lewis, 2008, p81)

Discrepancy Theory - Psychology of Advertising:

The Discrepancy Theory is the discrepancy between self image and the ideal image of oneself. The publics leisure practices, and cleaning regimes etc were inferior to those who depicted so. Lever Bros Lux adverts by the mid 1920s said to "preserve soft, youthful, lovely feminine ads' and started to introduce celebrity endorsement - "9 out of 10 screen stars care for their skin with Lux soap: (Lewis, 2008)

The 1st "Soap" Opera:

These were continuing dramas, and were played on the radio also in the US from around the 1930s. Procter and Gamble let the way, sponsoring O'Neils TV show with Ivory Soap. 

Advertising and Jobs:

Economic Liberals celebrated unfettered agency of the consuming individual. Good trade relations between countries reduced any conflicts or wars. "Capitalism, commerce and consumption improves the well being of the population" (Lewis 2008)