Advertisement for Pears' Soap(014EVA000000000U07489000)
Medium: Print on paper
In 1789, Andrew Pears, a barber from Cornwall, established a shop in Gerrard Street, Soho, then a fashionable residential area of London. After some 18 years of trading, he realised the market potential for a more gentle cleansing product and developed a high quality, transparent amber soap with a delicate perfume of English garden flowers.
Thomas J Barratt, who later joined the firm as a partner, pioneered a number of highly original, sophisticated and expensive publicity schemes to improve the company's sales performance and withstand the threat of more competitive rivals. He persuaded prominent skin specialists to give glowing testimonials to Pears' Soap. In this advertisement, Sir Erasmus Wilson, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, recommends the beneficial qualities of this "most refreshing and agreeable of balms".
The use of children, animals, flowers and beautiful women in Barratt's advertising campaigns promoted the message that Pears' Soap was safe, healthy and made its users look more beautiful and youthful. Though such images may appear sentimental today, they instantly appealed to Victorian tastes.