No Such Luck
As promised, here is the first of several wonderful ads purchased at this weekend's postcard show. I didn't fully appreciate how awesome this particular one was until I got it home, as you're about to see.
This is an ad from the Ladies' Home Journal in 1919--the heyday of entertaining magazine advertising, to my way of thinking. It's advertising a now forgotten brand of soap called "Olivilo" (pron. Olive-eyelow.)
The first mystery to me is why one would market a soap with the word "vile" in the name--I do realize it's trying to evoke the nourishing properties of olive oil, and I can overlook the gimmick that the name's a palindrome, but why put that long I sound in there? It gives me a sense of ick before I've even unwrapped the bar. Also, it's packaged in a black wrapper, which doesn't exactly cry out "SPARKLING CLEAN" to me. Those are basic facets of the product itself, though, so I accept that the pitchmen in Olivilo's marketing department may have been stuck with these problems for some time before devising this particular ad.
The first great thing here is the threat implicit in the image. "Do you believe in Luck?" it asks, in enormously loopy handwriting font, the word "in" squiggling precariously upright. "Do you feel lucky, punk? Do ya? Then try our #%@*& soap!"
Next comes the promise: Fate cannot harm you, if you use this soap. Apparently, Olivilo is the detergent version of a mafia bag man. Among other things, it will protect you from the unlucky influence of the rather bitchy looking black cat who is staring balefully out of the ad with eyes like creepy green footballs. OK, that seems worth a 10¢ cake of soap to me... And hey, at no extra charge you get a sidebar explaining that black cats are unlucky! Except when they aren't.
Thanks, Olivilo, for that fleeting educational moment.
However, the single most spectacular thing in this ad, the thing I didn't even notice until I got it home, was this teeny tiny plug for one of Wrisley's other products--Wrisley's Eau de Toilette. What could be nicer than pleasantly scented floral water, right?
GAHHHHH WHAT THE FUCKING HELL???? THE IMPRISONED SOULS OF FLOWERS??!?!! Holy farking Jesus, who thought THAT would be a pleasant image for potential buyers?? **shudder** It makes me want to buy a bottle just so I can give it a decent burial in my backyard. I can only conclude that Olivilo is truly the soap of the damned.
Join us next time when I deconstruct a Jell-O ad from 1921...