In this case, it’s TV adverts. Most of the old ones had jolly little jingles. I can remember so many of them:
You’ll wonder where the yellow went
When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent
There was even a children’s toothpaste which came in five different flavors and colors:
Five luvverly flavors in Punch & Judy toothpaste
A comedian builds part of his stage act round these old adverts, as he plays mainly to older audiences. He only has to say: Boom boom boom boom
And the audience shouts back: Esso Blue
Which was a paraffin of course, or kerosene as they call it in America. There were jingles for Murraymints the too good to hurry mint, for Hoover which beats as it sweeps as it cleans, and for new cleaning products like Windolene and Handy Andy (strong as a gentle man). For Germolene, Double Diamond, Cherry B, Mazda light bulbs, Omo detergent - its name meant ‘same’ as in ‘same as all the others’, most were made by Lever Brothers anyway. Just the names of these sometimes obsolete products conjures up their advertising jingle of the 1950s or 1960s. Not forgetting ‘Oxo brings you colour’ in those far off days of black and white TV in Britain. Of course it didn’t bring you color at all, the advert just jiggled about and made your eyes go funny, so some people thought they saw colors.
The thing about all these early adverts, apart from the jingles, you knew what the products were, what they were trying to sell – toothpaste, detergent, soap – I’ll be a little lovier every day with fabulous pink Camay or milder with olive oil, smoother with olive oil, mildest soap of all – Palmolive.
Nowadays some adverts are so obscure you don’t know what they are about. Especially the older generation. How can my mother, aged 94, be expected to know what www.comparethemarket.com is all about let alone www.comparethemeerkat.com ? Go on, click on the last one, it’s quite fun. One of the few current TV adverts which is really entertaining. The meerkat site keeps trying to refer you to the car insurance site, but I much prefer the meerkats. I love Aleksandr, who can fix me up with a date? These meerkats even have a Facebook site, bless ‘em.
Click on image to enlarge
My mother looks at all these meerkats and confused.com ads and is more confused than ever. How can you explain to someone who’s never even used a computer what .com means? And in 94 years she’s never felt a burning need to compare meerkats.
Back in the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s adverts were for sensible things. The first advert shown on commercial TV in 1955 was for SR toothpaste. Everyone uses toothpase (except my late grandmother, who thought it was a fiendish plot by dentists to rot your teeth and drum up trade. She swore by salt and water!) Not everyone wants to compare meerkats, or even car insurance. Not everyone, believe it or not, has a car, some don’t even have a computer. Let alone a mobile phone, so all those adverts for Orange, Nokia, etc. are wasted on them.
And how often do you see detergents advertised nowadays? In the 1950s and 1960s, whilst those in the East were busy building Communism, we in the West seemed fixated on getting our shirts, sheets, tablecloths, etc. whiter and brighter than those on the clothes line in next door’s garden. Oh the shame of the mother who didn’t use Persil, and how it showed when her kids turned up at school in gray shirts/blouses instead of the uniform Persil white. Ah, but Omo added brightness to cleanness and whiteness, and Daz had blue in it – sorry, I must be dyslexic, the ‘e’ should be at the end and the ‘b’ should be a capital letter – Daz had Bluinite – one of the first washing powders to turn blue in order to get your whites dazzling white.
Meanwhile all toothpaste turned green as chlorophyl was supposed to beat bad breath, till some bright spark ruined a multi-million pound business by pointing out, in their own little jingle, that:
Stinking goat on yonder hill
Feeds all day on chlorophyl
Chlorophyl being present in grass and other green vegetation. So toothpaste either went white again, or acquired red stripes.
Of course there were no restrictions on advertising cigarets and tobacco products, so you were reminded that you were never alone with a Strand, but probably died a lot sooner leaving others on their own. Though my mother’s still puffing thru 20-30 ciggies a day at 94 totally unworried that she may be knocking 10, 20 or 30 years off her life, fool that she is.
Oh yes, those good old adverts, when you actually knew and could see what they were advertising. Of course we never bought the wretched products, never have, and never will. I go in a supermarket and buy the cheapest brand (the supermarkets budget line usually) or the one I happen to prefer. I never take any notice of TV adverts, I don’t even watch them nowadays (unless it’s dear old Aleksandr and the meerkats).
In the old days you had the jolly jingles to listen to, but now you just use the remote to mute the sound since there are rarely any jingles to listen to, go and make a coffee or tea, or if you’re watching on DVD or videotape, fast forward. You wonder anybody pays for adverts since people like me never take any notice of them, just remember the old jingles and the meerkats. What were those meerkats selling – car insurance? No, a website comparing car insurance, well I can do without that. I haven’t got a car. No, I’d much rather compare meerkats.
Aleksandr and his friends really should make a record or whatever they call it nowadays – CD single. Based on that one-line jingle: ‘Compare the meerkat dot com’ – I bet it’d be a Top Ten hit.
Because that’s all TV adverts ever did for me – provide snappy little tunes that I remembered the rest of my life.
A cut or a graze, a burn or a bruise
Germolene is the ointment to use
Prevents infection and keeps wounds clean
You know you’re safe with Germolene
Remember the song, don’t remember ever buying the stuff. Not to be confused with Windolene of course:
Wipe it on, Windolene,
Wipe it on, Windolene,
That’s how to get your windows clean
Wipe it off, straight away
Wipe it off, no delay
So easy with new Windolene
And finally, just to remind us of inflation and the old £sd coinage, for 12.5 new pence (they don’t even have half a penny now) you could buy a bottle of 1001 carpet cleaner:
One thousand and one, one thousand and one,
Get rid of that work-a-day frown
One thousand and one cleans a big, big carpet
For less than half-a-crown