Extra Soapy Soap

See tiny women gather round
A bar of Sunlight that they’ve found
Reclining in a burst of glory
Symbolizing the old story:

Products of enormous size
Make consumers realize
Goods are extra extra good
If they dwarf the neighborhood.

Sunlight is completely pure
Which adds to its immense allure!
And since it eschews naughty fun
It ought to get the washing done.

But is it not both lame and dopey
To praise soap for being extra-soapy
Why, what else would it be, pray tell?
Is this the magic that will sell

Sunlight to those with tiny sinks
Who gaze upon the sudsy Sphinx;
Pray, ask it one last riddle more:
How will it fit through the front door?

Thank you very much to the Entrecard top ten droppers for February:

My Note’s
A Simple Life
Mommy’s Little Corner
The Modern Mom
The Ad Master
What’s On My Mind Today
Programming Made Easy
Life’s Sweets and Spices
Crotchety Old Man
Rocket Scientist

And also many thanks to everyone else who visits and comments!

Working In the Twilight Zone

If you are “mechanically inclined and can hold tools” – well, just turn the page. Don’t send away for the amazing electronic kit. But once you begin to look at the ad, you cannot turn away! You must write to the so-called Christy Trades School and get a “free BIG book.”

Soon you will have a free BIG head. After that, there will be a free BIG trip to another dimension.

So it doesn’t matter how much money you’re going to be making. Because soon, you will be traveling to the planet Zircon, where all the other part-time electrical technicians have been taken, their heads now programmed to work for Zirconic domination of the galaxy.

That is, in fact, why they say there is a need for electricians on planet Earth. Didn’t it occur to you to wonder why? Too late now. Sci-fi Charlie Brown wants you to join him in rigging up that – electrical thing he has on the table. I don’t know what it is, but I am worried.

This startling ad is from Startling Detective magazine (1964).

The Ad of Laughter and Forgetting

1. “A noted publisher in Chicago” = we don’t remember his name, ironically enough.

2. A “simple technique for acquiring memory…that works like magic” = expensive, convoluted and, just like stage magic, relies on optical illusion, deception and verbal trickiness.

3. “The publishers have printed full details” = uh oh, we forgot their names, too.

4. “Mailed free to anyone” = you’ll pay later, somehow. We forget how, though.

5. And what in the world is Hugh Laurie doing in this ad?

6. Oh, I know, it’s Just Some Guy who looks like Hugh Laurie. This ad ran in 1966, so it couldn’t be. Don’t know who it is, really. Nobody knows. If they did, they forgot.

Brillo Haiku

Jailed in the kitchen,
Scrubbing piles of pots and pans -
Even the suds sigh.

Invisible bars
Hold her back from playing bridge
And eating bon bons.

This lousy kitchen
Sink fills as if by magic
With large crusted pots.

Oh brilliant Brillo
Pads full of jeweler’s polish,
Release this sadsack!

See her shine a pan,
Then glow with enlightenment.
Steel wool nirvana.

Buy Brillo, feel swell:
A clean kitchen brings release.
That’s their satori.

But know this, lady:
You are only out on bail.
Next meal is coming.

The Life Of The Party

Just in case that electric bow tie doesn’t get you banned from the neighborhood shindigs, here is the 1948 version of the karaoke machine. What fun it will be to listen to this happy guy – this could be you! – talking and singing- and singing and talking – on and on through his little Radio Microphone.

Now you should know that you can broadcast “from any room.” Oh, that’s good! Guess where the guests will ask you to broadcast your little variety show from. Maybe from the attic. Or the garage. Maybe a room in another house altogether.

It may be wonderful voice practice, but please don’t forget to order that job lot of industrial-strength earplugs as well. The Empire Radio & Television* people may want to think about some kind of special two-in-one deal.

Your friends and family will thank you.

* More fun live from Brooklyn, New York! Well, it’s a fun place. Delmar of the Amazing Plans was from Brooklyn, too.

A Talented Temporary

The question for Monday: Do I want a talented temporary? Well no, not really. But I do want to know what you advertising people were thinking when you dreamed up this 1967 ad.

Actually, I can guess. And that is why you are winning my MCP Ad of the Week award, Manpower guys! Oh, the Manpower boys clearly were not just a bunch of pretty faces, they were really thinking very hard about this. I can just imagine:

Now boys, this ad is for a temporary agency called Manpower – har har, because men have power, and women – I mean girls – not so much! So let’s call this woman a White Glove Girl. That sounds about right – not powerful, and maybe thinking about fashion and shopping. But not too much, because she’s got to do a little bit of work…Hmm, could be tricky. Oh, never mind, no one’s thinking that hard at the office, are they?

Boys, let’s just tell the model to look confused and ditzy! That’ll appeal to the executives! We don’t want to get too cerebral with them, they have to save those brain cells for – well, the important decisions they’re making every day. How many martinis to have at lunch. Whether to put paper in the In tray or the Out tray. What kind of doughnuts everyone likes at meetings. That sort of thing.

Maybe we could just use an old picture from an ad for industrial strength hairspray, or extra-dark eye makeup. Or for white gloves, the kind women wear when they go out shopping. Don’t want her to look more intelligent than the boss, you know. So we’d better tell her to look really confused.

There is one small problem though. You may not get any women actually wanting to work for the agency.*

*That was supposed to be a funny punchline. The operative word being “supposed.” I can see how many places they had their agencies, and this is pre-1970s Women’s Movement, I know, they had a LOT of women working for them. What can I tell you, it’s Monday. Tomorrow ought to be better. Probably.

The Petrified Hairstyle

It isn’t such a long way from the Highway of Love to the Petrified Forest. Overdo the cans of hairspray, and maybe swig a little too much Listerine, and who knows where you’ll end up? Maybe with your hair looking like this.

Yes, I am sure every woman will want her hair to evoke the image of dry, crunchy leaves in varying shades of yellow, orange and brown. Crunchy, dying, desiccated leaves that are about to, you know, fall off the tree. Oh, yes please, make me look just like that. Hook me up to the Madison Wireless and give me a MacDonald Steam! All of which sound like Victorian industrial equipment. I guess it might be, at that. It takes a lot of horsepower to get hair to look like falling leaves!

This is the ideal girl for that log guy from last week – isn’t she lovely? They share the same arborial obsessions, only she’s into old leaves and he can’t stop thinking about bark.

But where will she go to get steamed and Pemberoiled? I don’t think there are any fancy hair salons in Algonquin Park.

From the Canadian magazine Mayfair, November 1935. It was aimed at the high-society set, as you might guess from the title.

A Hitchhiker on the Highway of Love

The title is the perfect opening line for a country and western song, or a True Confessions story. But instead, we find ourselves (once again) in a Listerine ad.

She was a glamor girl during the season of 1938. As long as people stayed far back, that is. But as soon as the menfolk got within hailing distance – oh, you know the story! This is a Listerine ad, so you can see what’s coming down the Highway of Love, can’t you? It’s not a Streetcar Named Desire.

One night, our heroine “returns from the powder room and was seated behind some portières”* – that’s straight out of a sudsy 1930s romance novel. Even though all she means is that she’s hiding behind some old drapes. What she hears is not straight out of a sudsy 1930s romance, though. Her date, Mr. Simpson, is not fetching punch and cookies, he is complaining about his date:

I don’t think I can last out the evening. She has a case of halitosis that a greyhound couldn’t jump over. You’d think she’d never heard of Listerine.

Oh, that’s nice. And here she was too polite to mention all the brilliantine he’d put on his hair. She was going to say that a greyhound might jump over that, only to skid all the way across the dance floor. But it is always after the party that we think of what to say.

Of course she goes home, is distressed, consults a doctor and then starts in with the gargling. Many purification rites ensue. And in the end, Listerine leads to matrimony (as usual) – only not with that simpleton Simpson. With “a man just as eligible.”

Just as? Oh come on, let’s make it someone much more eligible, and wealthier, and with way better hair products. And then you can drive off together down that highway in a brand-new 1938 Chrysler Imperial. That’s the way to end an ad like this!

This fab 1938 ad is from Duke University’s Medicine and Madison Avenue (you can see the larger version there, of course).

* Just like Scarlett O’Hara making the green velvet dress out of her mother’s “poteers.”

Questions For Madame Zeus

Madame Zeus says that she will please and amaze us all if we send a dollar and our names and birthdates to her.

It would please and amaze me to learn the answers to these questions:

-Why does she think I will be afraid of what she can find out about me? What exactly does she think I’ve been up to?

-Why Madame Zeus and not, say, Madame Hera? Hera was Zeus’ wife, after all, in Greek mythology. Is there then a Monsieur Hera? If so, what does he do?

-How is it that Madame Zeus can be “Of London, England,” yet her contact address is in Oakland, California? That’s quite a commute every day, you know.

And if she isn’t commuting, and her bags of mail aren’t being forwarded…I suspect Monsieur has been up to something that will amaze us all. And I’m not afraid to find out what it is, either.

Menswear Haiku

This guy looks quite sad.
Freedman may make guys look good.
Comfortable? No.

Look at him gesture:
Is he making brilliant points?
I do not think so.

Freedman wants to say:
Men look very very good
In these boring suits.

I say Freedman seems
Very insecure because
Too many verys.

Sir, why do you stand
Behind a box of strange height
Looking so depressed?

Unlucky yes-man
Stuffed into scratchy garments
Aims for debonair:

Alas, he just looks
As if large Canada geese
Nip at him unseen.