This iconic soap has two names and has been around for nearly 150 years.

Invented nearly 150 years ago, this iconic soap cake has become part of Americana primarily by touting its two odd benefits. “Float” and “99+44⁄100% pure”. The original product was a no-frills, plain white mildly scented soap with the name “IVORY” etched into the script. Impressively, except for the addition of aloe-scented varieties, it has remained intact for 143 years and still remains.

The life of ivory soap faces a fickle market of personal beauty products where new trends can appear and disappear in the blink of an eye.

So why has Ivory Soap stood the test of time? One theory is because of clever advertising and branding. Ivory soap packaging is known for its relentless marketing of purity and buoyancy characteristics.

David Plasek, founder of Lexicon Branding, said he is a branding expert who has helped name popular consumer products such as “Swiffer,” “Blackberry,” and “Dasani.”

“Just think about it. How many other soaps can you think of that advertise attributes similar to ‘float’?” It makes me think of other soaps that don’t float, so it reminds me. ”

Ivory Soap’s tagline has been consistent for more than a century and has permeated the subconscious minds of consumers for generations, Placek says.

“Even if you’ve never used ivory soap, you know it and you remember it,” he said.

Need for floating soap

Ivory Soap is the brainchild of Procter & Gamble. Harley Proctor (son of P&G co-founder William Proctor) and James N. Gamble (son of James Gamble, another P&G co-founder), rather than the giant multinational consumer brand conglomerates of today. two of him.

It was the late 19th century, a time when river bathing was in fashion among most of the population. Imagine being waist-deep in murky water and unable to hold onto a bar of soap.

But what if there was a bar of soap that floated?

Ann AdAge article The About Ivory Soap invention explains how Gamble at the time was trying to create a new type of mildly formulated soap. During the R&D process, it was discovered that batches of soap were accidentally made, causing air bubbles to become trapped inside and float.

According to P&G’s website, Gamble realized that “floating soap” could revolutionize the laundry experience in many ways.

He originally thought floating soap could be used for both washing and rinsing. Over time, soap bars became primarily bath soaps.

Naming the soap was another story.

According to P&G legend, Harley Proctor came across the word “ivory” while attending church and thought it would perfectly match the look and feel of the new soap, and both men chose “ivory soap.” adopted as a name.

P&G launched the soap in 1879, emphasizing its purity, not just as a bar that floats on water.

According to the company, the claim rested on a study of the soap by a professor of chemistry at the request of the inventor. a Non-soap material in it.

So they decided to highlight it in their Ivory Soap ads and create a second iconic tagline, “99 and 44-100% Pure.”

P&G continues to innovate with its ivory soap, but claims it’s made with a simple, dye- and paraben-free formula meant to gently cleanse the skin.

However, it has extended the brand to other products.

In the 1950s, according to AdAge articleP&G launched a lightweight dish soap under the Ivory brand, liquid hand soap in the 1980s, and a hydrating body wash with the introduction of Ivory Moisture Care in 1996. Today, Ivory’s personal care portfolio also includes baby care products, hair and body washes, and deodorants.

Ivory soap has become so iconic that in 2001 P&G donated a collection of ivory soap artifacts to the Smithsonian Institution.

Placek of Lexicon Branding said Ivory Soap was ahead of its time. “Before pure, clean and simple products were as popular with consumers as they are today, it was ‘pure’,” he said. This iconic soap has two names and has been around for nearly 150 years.

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