Celebrity De-Lux: The Golden Age Of Movie Star Soap Advertising

The extraordinary collection of screen idols who promoted soap bars.

We live in the worst sort of celebrity culture right now, but let’s not fool ourselves – the power of the famous has been around for a long time. it’s just that in years gone by, the celebrities were at least people of some talent, and the movie stars seemed to have some sort of substance and style about them. If people wanted to look like the stars, then at least the stars were worth looking like.

No one understood that more than the manufacturers of Lux soap, who for many years would strike deals with just about every female film star to appear in their ads – usually run in movie-star magazines – boasting about how they owed everything to this particular soap brand. the ads would even play on the advancing age (we’re talking about forty or so here) of some stars, claiming that they have avoided looking like wizened hags solely by using Lux, which seems both a stretch and an insult but there you have it. Often the ads were connected to new movies and featured male co-stars – but lest you think that the ads were being even-handed, let’s point out that the inference – hell, the blatant statement – was that these men would only be attracted to women who used Lux.

The Lux ads were not restricted to Hollywood. In fact, the Bollywood versions were just as popular and longer-lasting, continuing to this day.

Here are a collection of the ads – both dated and timeless, crass and classy simultaneously.

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