A social history, no matter how you view it

June 18, 2015 / Features

By Jacqueline Holmes

Advertising is a unique tool for understanding the past.

Advertising has become a great barometer and record of our social change and history over the decades. Whether in print or on TV, ads and commercials have mirrored society reflecting the changing settings, fashions, language, products and attitudes which have enticed consumers, offering an insight into how we Brits lived our lives. 

A BBC TV Washes Whiter series, first broadcast in 1990, explored these changes in depth tracking the changing face of British advertising. Researchers collected thousands of TV commercials on a variety of formats from numerous agencies across the industry with only a fraction making the final cut. The entire collection however, was then transferred onto 1-inch videotape. In 2007, the BBC donated the 110 VT 1 inch tapes to The History of Advertising Trust (HAT), an archive regarded as a national treasure collected over the last 40 years and home to the industry’s archive. 

Thanks to the HAT charity’s expertise and equipment donated by the local ITV Anglia studio, the unique collection of ads from the Washes Whiter series is now preserved and being digitised by HAT. Programmes from the BBC series can be seen on YouTube:

The first in the 5 part series is entitled She’s Not a Moron – She’s Your Wife – a well-known comment attributed to advertising executive David Ogilvy 1955. Ogilvy suggested that customers should be treated more sympathetically, in softer tones and regarded as intelligent customers and not patronised.

She’s Not a Moron… focused on the changing role of women in society and the emergence of a new, post-war domestic environment. In the first half of the 20th century, cinema advertising – the forerunner of TV commercials – had  been mainly aimed at men and the war had seen women taken out of the kitchen and home to work in the factories and on the land.

Now, with the war over, TV commercials were produced to appeal to the female customer. They focused on products that could help women fulfil their new roles as they adjusted to being the homemaker, a mother and a good wife. Commercials were aimed at the woman at home in charge of their own domestic bliss! They showed how women could take pride in their housework – their families’ clothes were whiter – think cleaner – than the next person’s, which was the mark of a successful mother and wife. Even with the introduction of frozen foods and cake mixes, a frozen pie still had to be baked just right and an egg added to the mix to create a perfect sponge.

The thousands of Washes Whiter commercials from 1955-89 along with the British Arrows Archive of more than 25,000 award-winning TV commercials from 1976 to the present day are now available through the History of Advertising Trust. They provide a fascinating moving-image record of advertising right from the start of commercial TV in 1955.

These ads are held alongside records, documents, artefacts and images of various organisations, brands, agencies and campaigns charting the history of advertising back to the 1800s. The HAT Archive is regarded as the largest archive of British advertising in the world, reflecting changes in our social history and providing a unique resource for advertisers, broadcasters, researchers and students.

Washes Whiter was an early success story for HAT Archive and the charity continues to acquire, preserve and, very importantly, provide access to other collections from the industry and operate an efficient and reliable service to ensure they are preserved and accessible. The HAT Archive has featured in other ‘ad inspired’ series including ITV’s Ade in Adland, the BBC’s Back in Time for Dinner and a wide variety of other TV and Radio broadcasts from game shows to factual and foodie to footie docs. Take a look at HAT and prepare to be inspired!

Comments (13)

  • Get the buy followers instagram and the advertising will be very easy to even understand how everything works out.

    by Etitiasa on 2017 02 03

  • fake yeezy boost 350 for sale I have read your post and came to know about this committee but I got only minimal information about it.

    by jordanss123 on 2017 06 07

  • If we are talking about the social history then instagram which is count and this http://trueinstafollowers.com/ has the potential for get real instagram followers.

    by rahul on 2017 06 19

  • SEO

    by john on 2017 07 05

  • Nowadays, the advertisements are created in more innovative way. I have watched these advertisements at essay writing service. website I really like the concepts which are really good.

    by JavierMoore on 2017 07 20

  • Here I am glad to inform you that here we are providing you the best mode of entertainment By which you can keep your body as well as mind healthy. For the same you can visit here play klondike solitaire free online games.

    by Vishal Tyagi on 2017 09 06

  • Some time ago kitchens were an only place to cook sustenance and wash dishes. In any case, things are quickly changing and the kitchens are breaking the banalities of the past circumstances and turning into the center of present day homes.

    by <a href="https://www.ajrinconstruction.com/kitc on 2017 12 27

  • Chiang Dao Xue first quietly listening, and then stand up and play, replica mcm backpack said: First continue to open

    by mcm on 2018 01 16

  • Thank you for your work on the blog! You’re doing a good job!
    192.168.o.1

    by panistefanin on 2018 01 22

  • Playing games with mods is very common among online and offline game players these days. Xmod Apk is not less than a superpower in the hands of the game lovers with which they can turn your game in any direction. For strategy games like Clash of Clans, it proves a great tool for the players. You may read in our related post upon Xmodgames For Android  that how to download and install xmod on bluestacks or xmodgames for android.

    by Frank Jimenez on 2018 02 26

  • It is basically a Chinese gaming store. It is much similar to the Google Play Store and also the Apple store. It provides for a lot of games and relevant apps.The only difference you can see in these app stores is that the Muzhiwan Apk Download  facilitates for the more freedom, more features. The most interesting part of this app store is that the games and the relevant apps that are paid or available at high prices can be available for free in Muzhiwan.

    by TammyRBuckner on 2018 03 16

  • Download the GameCIH APK file from the direct link given here tap on the gamecih apk file to begin.

    by Dennis Smith on 2018 04 20


  • styledress and sexy, our bodycon dresses will give you that show stopping figure hugging look for your girls night out. Next day delivery ... all uk orders over £40 ... From mini bodycon dresses to the elegance of a midi and everything in between.
    saaaafaa

    by topre sdfd on 2018 05 12

Post a new comment