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Sixties Advertising - I'm Backing Britain
Sixties Advertising - I'm Backing Britain

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Sixties Advertising - I'm Backing Britain
Although there have been a number of 'Buy British' campaigns, the most famous was probably the 'I'm Backing Britain' campaign of the late 1960s. It started in December 1967 when five typists from the Colt heating and ventilation organisation volunteered to work for half an hour extra each day, without pay, to assist the British economy. With the ensuing publicity the idea rapidly took off and, within days, workers at other companies were doing the same. Union jacks emerged everywhere, with the government endorsing the campaign and the British press also climbing on the bandwagon. Despite this, it fizzled out in a matter of months. Labour MP Robert Maxwell then launched a rival motto - 'Buy British' and a song was created by composers Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent, recorded by Bruce Forsyth, with the chorus 'The feeling is growing, so let's keep it going, the good times are blowing our way'. However, it sold only 7,319 copies and the T-shirts printed for the campaign were discovered to have been made in Portugal!

Following this 'false start', British advertising started to concentrate on finding a 'British voice', abandoning the pseudo-American adverts and the posh-sounding 50s-style annunciations. Television in particular looked to adverts that were memorable because they could be related to by the general public and not just because they had a tacky jingle. It is notable that a large number of the 'best ever' TV adverts from the '100 Best' were created during this period.

The origins of this 'new' style of advertising are largely credited to CDP (Collett Dickenson Pearce), a Soho-based, British-owned advertising agency who, at that time, employed young men who were later to achieve more wide-eaching fame: David Puttnam, Ridley and Tony Scott, Adrian Lyne, Alan Parker, Charles and Maurice Saatchi, Peter Mayle and John Hegarty. Frank Lowe (who later formed Lowe Howard Spink with colleague Geoff Howard-Spink) also worked there. They all admired the crisp, simple work produced by the New York agency Doyle Dane Bernbach and allied this approach the kind of humour peculiar to the British. Their 'Pure Gold' campaign for Benson and Hedges cigarettes is one of the all-time classics, the original campaign making Benson & Hedges Special Filter the UK's best selling king size cigarette. In the 70s, when regulations on cigarette advertising tightened, CDP came up with a campaign that featured no spoken words, just the B&H packet in unusual locations and situations.

Weren't there some great advertising slogans around in the Sixties? Still frequently quoted today are 'Beanz Meanz Heinz', 'High Speed Gas', 'Go To Work On An Egg' (why did they ever get rid of those cute little lions?), 'A Hazelnut in Every Bite' and the superb 'Put A Tiger In Your Tank'. Come on, own up, you had a woolly tiger tail attached to your car or scooter radio aerial as well, didn't you! The 'Beanz' advert of 1967 was invented by Maurice Drake with an accompanying jingle by Johnny Johnston. Maurice was also responsible for 'Roses grow on you' ( made famous by Norman Vaughan ) and later, the Double Diamond advert ' I'm only here for the beer'. 1968 saw the start of Cadbury's memorable 'All because the lady loves . . . Milk Tray' adverts starring 'man in black' Gary Myers.

The first real pop music used in commercials was in 1963 when cartoon Beatles launched Nestle's Jellimallo bar. The Rolling Stones, despite their 'rebel' image, seemed to have no trouble embracing the establishment when they recorded for Rice Krispies in a cartoon parody of Juke Box Jury in 1964 (click image on left for sound file) and Cliff, Craig Douglas, Acker Bilk and Lonnie Donegan all featured in a 'live action' commercial for Quaker Puffed Wheat - 'A swinging way to start the day' - voiced over by D.J. Brian Matthew.
'You're never alone with a Strand' was a memorable cigarette advert from 1960 but failed to get across whatever it was trying to say. The 'Lonely Man' theme, a hit record in its own right made people associate the ad with loneliness. A Daily Express survey in the same year demonstrated that only 23% of women watched TV commercials. 30% did sewing or knitting, 19% carried out household jobs and 13% apparently did the cooking.

Sixties City Adverts

Most advertised products were soap products but the advertising authorities decided that their claims were becoming a bit too extravagant and banned 'ultimate' claims such as 'Persil washes whitest' and 'Daz washes whitest of all'. The advertising geniuses found other ways of getting their message across and an 'OMO' ad won 'best commercial of 1962'. The first real 'British' pop music was used in commercials in 1963 when cartoon Beatles launched Nestle's 'Jellimallo' bar. The Rolling Stones did backing music for Rice Krispies in a cartoon parody of Juke Box Jury and Cliff, Craig Douglas, Acker Bilk and Lonnie Donegan all featured in a 'live action' commercial for Quaker Puffed Wheat - 'A swinging way to start the day' - voiced over by D.J. Brian Matthew

Cigarette advertising was banned from children's television slots in 1963, all actors appearing in these ads having to be over 21, and was dropped from television altogether in August 1965.The Oxo family had begun their long running 'soap' style adverts in 1957 and were an ever-present throughout the Sixties, featuring the lovely Mary 'Katie' Holland. Other successful 'leftovers' from the Fifties included 'Murray mints, Murray mints, too good to hurry mints', Rice Krispies 'Snap, Crackle and Pop, the gorgeous harem girls delicately nibbling Fry's turkish delight and a whole hoard of nagging little brats chorussing 'Don't forget the ( Rowntrees ) fruit gums, mum.

'Hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face with mild green Fairy Liquid' was one that had us rolling in the aisles and was to feature Patsy Kensit with the classic 'Mummy, why are your hands so soft'?
All together now . . . Because Daddy does the . . . ho ho. . .
Nestle very kindly gave us the first blond, bespectacled 'Milky Bar Kid so strong and tough' - he wouldn't have lasted 30 seconds in my class! More to our taste were the Cadbury's Flake girls, pretty hot stuff for the Sixties!
Bing Crosby starred in a commercial for Shell which involved a whistle-stop motoring tour of Britain. Not a bad song for a commercial . . . da . . da . . da . . 'We're going well, we're going Shell, you can be sure of Shell' especially with his unmistakeable velvet tones.

Digby the Old English sheepdog became the first of a long line of Dulux dogs in 1963 and the catchphrase of the year was surely 'Schhh . . . you know who' from the king of the voice-over, Top Secret star William Franklyn on behalf of Schweppes in a series of secret agent Bond-style spoof adverts. Christmas 1964 wouldn't have been the same without 'Tick-a-tick-a Timex la la la' being heard, seemingly constantly, on the telly. Previously mentioned, the Esso tiger campaign - still going strong - came to us in 1964, the Homepride Flour Men tried to persuade us that 'graded grains make finer flour' from 1965 with the assistance of some famous voiceover artists such as John LeMesurier, and the 'Go to work on an egg' series provided overtime for chickens everywhere in 1966.

Clement Freud and Henry the bloodhound amused us with a double-take for Chunky dog food in 1967. The year was a comparatively inventive one as it also saw the 'Boy in a man's world' adverts for Meccano and Captain Bird's Eye sailing into port for the first time to extol the virtues of fish fingers - well, someone had to do it and things were a bit slack in the Father Christmas business at the time . . . The French actor Fernandel was sacked from the Dubonnet adverts after it was discovered that he couldn't utter a single word of English, not even 'Do have a Dubonnet'.

Although huge amounts were spent on TV advertising, comparatively few classics remain as lasting memories.... Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet; Let your fingers do the walking (Yellow Pages); A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play; Get the Colgate ring of confidence; Does she or doesn't she? (Clairol); The best thing a lady puts on! (Avon)

Listed below are the top 20 advertiser 'spends for February 1968 - we all know the products but who can remember the adverts? 1968 came and went leaving the incredibly successful beer advert jingle 'Double Diamond works wonders so drink one today' stuck in our minds forever. The old ones are still the best . . . I'm Clint, and I'm only here for the beer . . .
Sixties CitySixties City

Advertising Time Line (read in conjunction with text articles and separate timelines that contain additional information)

  All Unilever washing-related brands are placed under the control of a single company, Lever Brothers and Associates
Becel, the pioneering 'health' margarine, is launched after the medical community asks Unilever to develop a cholesterol-lowering food product. Initially it's only available from pharmacies
The advertising slogan, 'A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play' is first used in the U.K
The Galaxy chocolate brand is first launched in the UK
CHUM dog food is launched in the UK
Philadelphia cheese is launched in the UK.
Fairy liquid first goes on sale in the UK
Cadbury's launch the 'Skippy' chocolate bar
Slogan: Buy nothing until you buy Vogue
Slogan: You're never alone with a Strand
Ritz Crackers     
  Head & Shoulders launches with a proprietary formula clinically proven to reduce dandruff
The Milky Bar kid first makes an appearance, played by Terry Brooks - 'The Milky Bars are on me'
Co-co Pops are launched
  The Advertising Standards Authority holds its inaugural meeting
Rowntree's launches 'After Eight' mints
Cadbury's mini rolls are introduced
Pampers nappies are launched
Mars' Topic bar is first introduced with the tag line 'A Hazelnut in Every Bite'
Slogan: Go well, go Shell
  Cornetto, the first packaged and branded ice cream cone, begins its launch in Europe
Becel is repositioned as a diet margarine and distribution is widened to include the grocery sector
The first UK TV commercial for Philadelphia cheese is aired
Ronald McDonald makes his debut
New Blue Star Omo is introduced in March (Omo was originally launched in 1954)
Rowntree's Tooty Frooties are launched
Nestles Animal Bar and Toffee Crisp are launched
Patio Diet Cola was introduced by Pepsi. Very few ads were produced for the brand before it became Diet Pepsi.
  Flora margarine hits the shelves
The Homepride 'Fred' character makes his first appearance on TV
For the first time, consumers can buy LEGO sets which include all the parts and instructions to build a particular model.
McDonalds introduce the Filet-o-Fish sandwich
DURACELL the company was started in the early 1920s, but it wasn't until1964 that 'Duracell' appears on packaging
Spillers take over the Kennomeat dog food brand
  12th April The first record company-sponsored commercial show is transmitted by Radio Caroline
New brands include Nestles Crunch bar
Cif is first launched, starting in France
Slogan: Brylcreem make
s the most of a man
Slogan: Did you Maclean your teeth today?
Slogan: Easy peasy lemon Sqezy (Sqezy washing up liquid)
Slogan: It's the sun that makes it Sunblest
Slogan: The tea you can really taste (PG Tips)
Slogan: Murray mint, Murray mint, the too good to hurry mint
  29th June Barclaycard is launched
  Young & Rubicam come up with the slogan 'Beanz Meanz Heinz' and it sticks for 30 years
Captain Birds Eye makes his first appearance in TV commercials
Mr. Kipling is launched to sell cakes of a local baker's standards to supermarkets
Ariel soap powder is first introduced
Cadbury's launch the 'Aztec' chocolate bar and Toffee Buttons
Kit Kat has its first colour TV advert
Rowntree's JellyTots are launched
Mars' Revels are launched in the UK
Mars' Twix bar is first produced in the United Kingdom
Slogan: Now that hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face with mild green Fairy Liquid
Slogan: Schhh ... tonic water by you-know-who
  The Milk Tray Man makes his TV debut
Persil Automatic is launched to suit the latest front-loading washing machines
McDonalds introduce the Big Mac
Pringles are introduced
Cadbury's 'Lucky Numbers' chocolate assortment is retired
Slogan: In the Inch War, Ryvita helps you win
  15th November The first British colour TV commercial, for Birds Eye Peas, airs on ATV (Midland) at 10:05 a.m. during 'Thunderbirds'.
Slogan: Fore brings out the best in a man (aftershave)

Advertising Links

Ad Slogans of the 60s    
History of Advertising Trust   National Media Museum   The Advertising Archives   

Radio Adverts

Although the BBC was not into radio advertising, it was the main source of income for its pirate airwave rivals in the North Sea. Here are a few of the more well-remembered ones:

Coca Cola Advert
Coca Cola Advert
Opal Fruits Advert
Opal Fruits Advert
Heinz Beans Advert
Heinz Beans Advert
Crazy Foam Advert
Crazy Foam Advert
Rolling Stones - Rice Krispies
 Pirate Radio Adverts  
(Flash Cleaner, Bananas, Bulova Watches, Sunsilk, Consulate Cigarettes, Ever Ready Batteries, Evette Cosmetics (Woolworths), Heinz Beans, Maxwell House Coffee, Double Diamond Beer, Bush Radios)

Pirate Radio Programmes and Jingles
Excerpts and full programmes, complete with adverts

And in the USA -
How did Mrs Burke stay as slim as her teenage daughter?
Find out ... at her son Adam's page which is entirely devoted to this long-running US product 'Grape Nuts'

Television Adverts

 Top 20 Television Advertising 'Spends' - February 1968    

1. Oxo
2. The Milk Marketing Board
3. Weetabix
4. Heinz soups
5. The Daily Mirror
6. Vim scouring cleaner
7. Mackintosh's Quality Street
8. Daz washing powder
9. Stork margarine
10. Ambrosia milk pudding

11. Maxwell House coffee
12. Galaxy milk chocolate
13. Rowntrees' After Eight mints
14. Guinness
15. McVitie and Price Digestive biscuits

16. Supersoft hair spray
17. Sunblest bread
18. Australian Immigration (really?? )
19. Colgate UltraBrite toothpaste
20. The Egg Marketing Board
OMO Washing Powder 
Egg Marketing Board
Fry's Medley Bar 

Fry's Crunchie Bar  

Cadbury's Milk Tray 

Babycham champagne perry
Miscellaneous TV Adverts 1 
Miscellaneous TV Adverts 2
Miscellaneous TV Adverts 3 

Miscellaneous 1964 TV Adverts    

Miscellaneous Rediffusion TV Ads

Unzip a Banana
Brooke Bond Tea and Kleenex Tissues

Rowntrees Smarties - 'Buy some for Lulu'

Oxo : Life With Katie (1961-1974)

Original 1960's Subbuteo TV Advert

Vintage UK adverts

Reel 1       Reel 2       Reel 3

Cinema Adverts

Cinema Adverts of the 1960's    Part 1        Part 2        Part 3

Defunct Cinema Adverts

Rank Cinema Advertising

Kent Cigarettes - Carnaby Street cinema advert
Sixties City Cinema Adverts

In Conclusion ...

From David Stubbs in 'The Guardian'.........Were ads better in the 1960s?

" Were these "classics"? They certainly made a deep impression some of these campaigns, like the Flake one, lasted decades. Of course, they carried some dubious messages about gender role-play and, despite wholesomely crooned jingles, could be insidiously, sexually implicit, such as the Doublemint gum ads, always featuring a pair of female twins "double your pleasure, double your fun". They didn't always make sense. How could a Mars a day help you rest, as well as work and play? They remind us not just of more innocent times but of an age of things of chocolate, baked beans, Playtex girdles, deodorants, washing powders, instant mash, toothpaste, shampoo, Butlins. A bold, spangly, optimistic new post-ration book Britain of comestibles, detergents, undergarments and domestic holidays.
Contrast them with today's ads, which reflect a world whose consumers spend every spare hour poring over price comparison websites, prompted by the unsubtle suggestions of meerkats and fat opera singers. Yesterday bad, today good? I think not. Go compare "

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