Rare, beautifully framed 1919 Palmolive Soap advertisement by Coles Philips
Full-page color advertisement from the May
1919 Ladies' Home Journal
Beautifully illustrated by Coles Philips
For The Palmolive Company
Image Size: H 15.00” x W 9.50”
Matted & Framed: H 21.00” x W 15.50”
Framed Price: $300.00
Whiteglove handling and shipping: $38.00
According to one informed source, at the turn of the last century, Palmolive Soap was the nation’s leading soap product. It was actively advertised then as it continues to be to this day. In the first years of the last century, before image colorization was not yet commercially available, advertisers focused on providing information about their product. These information transfers were commonly enhanced with graphics—hand drawn picture of the product itself were common. Ten years later, technology had improved and color imaging was available. Graphics could therefore be more sophisticated. They showed often individuals, usually smiling women, using the advertiser's product. But as the decade wore on, characters featured in advertisements became less involved featuring the advertiser's product and more involved in performing some function of their daily lives. In this subtle way an advertiser made its product part of the viewer’s daily life.
Managing the psychology of the consumer was, in other words, becoming an the essence of product marketing.
Cole Phillips’s 1919 Palmolive Soap advertisement perfectly illustrates the marketing revolution that took place during the 1910s. During these years, the Palmolive Company realized that it could shape public opinion in favor of its soap by incorporating into its advertisements cherished human ideals like, for example, being beautiful and being happy. The same for being wealthy and living in luxury. These things in mind, the Palmolive Company commissioned Coles Phillips who responded with this picture showing the Dove of Beauty obediently alighting on the outstretched hand of a Cleopatra-like princess. CP understood how to shape consumer psychology. His image was so powerful that words were not necessary. The soap, as they say, flew off the selves.