Ivory Soap's Big Marketing Lie

For years, P & G has been claiming the floating quality of Ivory soap was a production mistake:

"Perhaps Ivory's most famous feature--its ability to float--was the result of an accident! An employee failed to shut off the soap-making machine when he went to lunch. When he returned, he found the soap mixture puffed-up and frothy. After consulting with his supervisor, the decision was made to finish and ship the soap since the ingredients had not been changed in any way by the longer mixing time."

Over 100 years later, P & G is coming clean on that story in a new book, Rising Tide," which finally reveals the truth about the floating soap. In 1863, P&G chemist James N. Gamble made an entry in a notebook saying, "I made floating soap today. I think we'll make all of our stock that way." The book notes further that Gamble, the son of P&G co-founder James Gamble had previously studied with a chemist who had already made floating soap.

This certainly has to take the prize for the longest running marketing lie. Thanks to Adrants reader Tom Hespos for the tip.

by Steve Hall    Jun-23-04   Click to Comment   
  

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