The Fairy Liquid campaign (which debuted in 1961) showed Mum at the kitchen sink with her adoring daughter playing nearby. The soaring melody – once heard never forgotten – was “Now hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face, with mild green Fairy Liquid”.
Washing up liquid was still a new product at the time, with only one in five British households using it instead of powders or soap. By the end of its first year of advertising, six out of ten households were using Fairy Liquid.
Many celebrities have been involved in Fairy Liquid campaigns over the years, but most people recall Nanette Newman as the public face of the product.
By 1993, a poll linking celebrities with products showed that Newman and Fairy Liquid went (lovely soft) hand-in-hand. Over 60% of people questioned associated her with Fairy Liquid, and her successful involvement with the brand ran for 12 years until the product entered the 1990s with a new image.
No longer was the sight of a middle-class woman washing thousands of dirty dishes with one bottle an attractive advertising proposition. The new campaign showed blokes doing the washing-up after cooking for their girlfriends.
The original advertisement, showing a young girl asking, “Mummy, why are your hands so soft?” (back in 1965), provided one of the first TV roles for actress and child model Leslie Ash (Quadrophenia, Men Behaving Badly), who was four-years-old at the time.