December 21, 2009

Yes, Ivory Soap is “99 44/100% pure.” And, yes – Marilyn really was an Ivory Snow Mom.

One of the most famous and long-lasting advertising slogans in history is the Ivory Soap slogan “99 44/100% Pure.”

As recorded in the U.S. Trademark Database, it was first used in commerce 127 years ago on December 21, 1882.

Ivory Soap was created by Proctor & Gamble in 1878. Previously, P&G sold a hard, dense yellow soap made from tallow.

Then, a new soap formula devised by James Gamble resulted in a white soap with some special characteristics. Bars made from it floated, instead of sinking like other soaps, and made an especially nice, creamy lather.

The famed slogan was inspired by lab tests. The tests were conducted to compare the new white soap to castile soaps, which were considered the standard of excellence at that time.

“One chemist's analysis was in table form with the ingredients listed by percentage. Harley Procter totaled the ingredients which did not fall into the category of pure soap — they equaled 56/100%. He subtracted from 100, and wrote the slogan ‘99-44/100% Pure: It Floats.’”

The Ivory Soap sold today is essentially the same soap created over a century ago.

But, since then, one additional “impurity” was added to the 56/100th of a percent.

Around 1970, a young, unknown actress posed as a mother holding a baby in a photo used on boxes of Ivory Snow laundry detergent.

Then, in 1972, the actress became world-famous as the star of the groundbreaking art house porn movie, Behind the Green Door.

Yes, the late, great Marilyn Chambers was indeed an Ivory Snow girl, or more precisely an Ivory Snow Mom.

Contrary to some stories, though Marilyn was a babe, she never was an Ivory Snow baby.

And, contrary to other stories, the baby Marilyn was holding in her Ivory Snow photo is not Brooke Shields — though Brooke did appear in some Ivory ads as an infant.

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