Soft soap and soap operas
in ‘So clean’
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This chapter explores how manufacturers and advertisers sought to market their products during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries through a variety of hard sell, soft sell and psychological techniques. It also explores how they were actively attempting to shape desire than simply meeting the demand, and sometimes succeeding. William Hesketh Lever always emphasized the power of advertising in bringing about his business success. Attacks on commerce and all its permutations were, of course, centuries old, but indictments of the Admass culture that Lever had helped create were particularly a feature of the inter-war period and after. One way to reach the audience was through the new medium of the radio, hence the invention of the soap opera in the 1930s, aimed squarely at a daytime audience of women in the home.

‘So clean’

Lord Leverhulme, soap and civilization


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