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Monday, December 1, 2008

And now... a commercial break with LUX

In 1964 Marisa Mell was still only known in German speaking countries like Germany and her native Austria but her star was on the rise, especially with a contract to do a British movie called "French Dressing" to be directed by Ken Russell. So it wasn't strange that she caught the attention of the advertising world. One of her first ad's was for the soap brand Lux. This ad is rather special for several reasons: 1) contrary to almost all other Lux ad's with actresses this one with Marisa Mell has a side view of her and not a front view. Most of the actresses do not like their faces to be shot in a photo shoot from their sides because they don't like their noses or the silhouettes of their faces. So photo's of these women are almost always taken from the front. Marisa Mell was at that time regarded as such a classic beauty with an almost Greek statue like face that the campaign was build around her side view; 2) the brand Lux was at that time such a well known name that the connection of an actress and the word "Lux" was enough to make the link with the soap and 3) the ad has the autograph of Marisa Mell at the bottom of the page. This ad proves that the way she writes her stage name in an autograph was there from the beginning of her career and has been unchanged untill the end of her life which is rather exceptional because writing and autographs tend to change during the life of a person due to the changing of his or her personality when becoming older and more mature.
In 60's Europe, it wasn't very common to do ad's with movie stars in it contrary to the US which had a longer tradition. One of the reasons was that European movie stars thought it to be cheap to do commercials and advertisments next to their movie careers just like it was not done as a movie star to do television at that time. Times haves changed and now they all do it for the money almost as a main occupation with a movie career as a side track. One of the few exceptions in Europe at that time was the soap brand "Lux". Almost from the beginning of their existence starting in the 1930's, Lux concentrated on placing actresses on their ads like Lana Turner or Jane Wyman. More than 400 actresses untill now have lent their faces for a Lux ad. Even Paul Newman did one.
"Lux" soap was first launched in the UK in 1899 as a flaked version of Sunlight soap and in the US in 1916, where it was marketed as a laundry soap targeted specifically at 'delicates'. The producer of this soap were Lever Brothers who encouraged women to home launder their clothes without fear of satins and silks being turned yellow by harsh lyes that were often used in soaps at the time. The flake-type soap allowed the manufacturer some leeway from lye because it did not need to be shaped into traditional cake-shaped loaves as other soaps were. The result was a gentler soap that dissolved more readily and was advertised as suitable for home laundry use. The name "Lux" was chosen as the latin word for "light" and because it was suggestive of "luxury."
Lux is now owned by giant Unilever and is still a strong seller in the soap market especially in Asian markets like India, Nepal and Pakistan. In those countries with millions of poor people who are dreaming of a better life, the soap Lux has still an aura of wealth and richness when you are able to buy and use it in your day to day use.

Therefore the brand is heavely advertised by actresses from Bollywood, the Indian movie industry. Although at the moment, Lux's ambassador in India is actress Pryanka Chopra, the biggest seller of all time is another Bollywood star and regarded as "the most beautiful women in the world": Aishwarya "Ash" Rai.

Once a former Miss India and Miss World, the 35 year actress has already more than 40 movies on her resumé during her 13 year career. At one time, during the Pierce Brosnan-era of James Bond Aishwarya Rai was rumored to be in the running to become a number 1 Bond girl in one of his last movies. Although she admits that it was only a rumor, her greatest wish is to become a world movie star next to her Bollywood career. So becoming a Bond girl would have placed her in the spotlight. Maybe she gets another chance with the new James Bond Daniel Craig when he needs another Lux glamor girl at his side to be rescued.

1 comment:

Keith said...

I really like that ad with Marisa. She does have that classical Greek goddess look to her. She's a very beautiful woman. There's no doubt about that. She had a gorgeous face to use in advertising.

I'm a big fan of Aish. I think she's incredibly beautiful. I would love to see her as a Bond girl.