Vintage Ads: Ivory Soap

Ivory Soap was first sold by Procter & Gamble in 1879, and it’s still available today, nearly 140 years later. The Saturday Evening Post has regularly carried Ivory ads throughout its equally long history. While the tactics have changed (one early ad warned Europe-bound travelers to bring their own soap), the basic message never did: Ivory was always “The Soap that Floats” and “99 44/100% Pure.”

(All advertisements copyright © Procter & Gamble)

A couple on a ship
June 2, 1906 (Click to Enlarge)

“It is a mistake to suppose that you can buy good soap ‘anywhere in Europe.’”


A recently married couple leave a chapel
October 20, 1906 (Click to Enlarge)

“There are two things she will do well to remember: (1.) All men enjoy good meals. (2.) Most men appreciate cleanliness.”


A woman tending flowers
June 12, 1909 (Click to Enlarge)

“Professional florists use Ivory Soap in preference to anything else.”


Two Army servicemen talking to eachother in a tent.
March 2, 1918 (Click to Enlarge)

“After a hard hike or muscle-building romp, it certainly will be a pleasure for him to have an old-time bath with the bubbling, copious Ivory lather as he used to have at home.”


Woman in a chair speaking to a man.
March 10, 1928 (Click to Enlarge)

“With Ivory as their guardian all through the day, your hands can say nice things about you always!


Closeup of hands and a full tea cup
March 8, 1930 (Click to Enlarge)

“I don’t have $780 a year to spend on a maid—like my nice next-door neighbor, Alice G, who has two cars and never even washes out a handkerchief!”


Man reads in a bathtub
November 14, 1931 (Click to Enlarge)

“Most men (and most wives might as well know it) warble more cheerfully, relax more completely, in the clean-smelling foam of an Ivory bath—with a big, mansized cake of Ivory, floating in easy reach.”


Closeups of men
March 17, 1934 (Click to Enlarge)

“When you take a healthy dive into a brimming Ivory bath . . . And lather up with great rich gobs of pure, pure, Ivory lather . . . Then . . .You’re washing blues and troubles and worries away.”


Illustration of a woman's face, emphasizing smooth skin as a result of soap use.
June 25, 1938 (Click to Enlarge)

“If you want a baby-clear, baby-smooth skin, use the baby’s beauty treatment.”


Photos of a baby enjoying a bubble bath
April 19, 1941 (Click to Enlarge)

“Recently a leading medical journal wrote every doctor in the United States asking which soap they advised. For both babies’ and grown-ups’ skin, more doctors replied “Ivory” than any other brand of toilet soap.”


A soldier in battle
May 6, 1944 (Click to Enlarge)

“We make special soaps for processing parachutes. We make soaps for treating soldiers’ uniforms, for preparing war metals for plating, for preserving the leather in boots and strengthening the rubber in jeep tires.”