William Hesketh Lever has been marked as the founder of Creative Advertising , and advertising as a multi-national company.
Born in 1851 when technology and industrialisation had made huge advancements. Trading routes between countries had also already been established.
This meant that for the first time posters could be printed at a large scale and full colour, and that countries where trading and there had become a greater sense of consumerism, which meant products where being sold at much larger more profitable scale.
|George Cruikshank, All The World Going to See the Great Exhibition,1851|
Lever is also considered one of the first British business tycoons. He stressed the importance of art , and had a passion for art. He opened a gallery in his village Port Sunlight , a village he owned which also had a factory for his workers, where they made Sunlight Soap.
Advertisement was also aided by tax cuts on newspapers in 1855, and then on paper in 1861.
As well as this there was a printing boom and contemporary paintings became easily reproducible , which meant Lever could use paintings as the imagery for his advertisements.
Soap used to be sold in long bars to grocers, it was't packaged and it could be sliced up.
In the 1860's cereal companies e.g. Kellogg's figured out how to print, fold and fill cardboard boxes mechanically, this formed the basis for Sunlight Soap packaging.
‘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)
This packaging ensured that the soap was the same size and quality each time, it gave the soap brand value and familiarity. Also the packaging allowed bright, interesting and innovative graphics, which caught the markets attention.
Lever selected all the paintings for his advertisements, he purchased them from the Royal Academy, he spent £2million in advertising. The paintings provided a way of promoting the message in an interesting way, they became entertaining and spectacles, capturing audiences imaginations and therefore there custom.
|George Dunlop Leslie, Alice in Wonderland, 1879|
|Albert Chevalier Taylor, A Dress Rehearsal, 1888|
He chose images with delicate white linen as they would show the soap could handle the most delicate of fabrics and make them sparkling white almost brand new, and so it was a good reliable product .
At the time of Levers advertising campaigns children where a popular subject of paintings and photography. A high infant mortality rate because of the surroundings and time itself meant that children represented life itself, joy, purity and innocence.
He also depicted brand loyalty in some of his advertisements as he depicted generations of women. An idea that the mother was passing down her beauty secret, Sunlight Soap, to her daughter. It was an emotional strategy.
|John Henry Fredrick Bacon, The Wedding Morning 1892|
The advertising appealed to women, they are the ones who wash the clothes and would buy the groceries. Later ads tapped into this further by appealing to the children, Sunlight soap offered paper dolls with interchangeable outfits and encyclopaedias. This meant the mothers would feel more inclined to buy the soap for the benefit of their children.
As well as all of this Lever also began thinking of new ways to advertise, displaying posters in innovative spaces such as train-doors, where a lot of people would see them.
Bill Beinbach 1911-1982
Was the first to combine copywriters and art directors
Agencies that sold advertising spaces to companies in newspapers also had to come up with a new way of earning money as their commissions became capped. And so they began to offer creative services to companies to create better advertisements for them.
In 1892 Sunlight Soap became royally endorsed by Queen Victoria the first.
This meant consumers knew they where getting the best as the Queen was also using it, yet it was affordable.
Britishness became a hugely popular theme, due to its height as an empire and mark of royalty and imperialism , it was also a recognisable symbol in the international markets and represented quality.
It also represented civilisation. The empire was emerged upon the working class, who had aspirational views of royalty.
Civilisation appeared due to sanitary developments and the desire to be clean and appealing, a strategy adopted by companies and still used today.
The self and the ideal image, habits of the self where always inferior to those depicted in advertisements, just like today.
Levers company was a combination of him and James Darcy they where known as the Lever Bros. This was the name displayed on all the advertisements and products.
After many collaborations the Lever Bros are now known as Unilever a ubiquitous brand that owns over 900 brands it is a multi national company and is probably the biggest advertising company in the world.
Unilever still sponsors art today ...
|October 2011- March 2012|
Lynx has created an online game and real time novel to advertise their product. A very modern and innovative way of entertaining and advertising, you could say its adopted the strategies of the Lever Bros.