Lincoln, Me. (DG)—
When Tide made its nationwide debut, the art of washing the laundry had taken on a completely different dimension. This long awaited debut wasn’t exactly welcomed news for the makers of soap products. With Tide sales overwhelming, the soapmakers had to make some drastic adjustments. When the dust settled, many soap products were either discontinued or its brand name was used for their company’s new synthetic detergents.
There were some soap brands that survived the Tide onslaught and continued on with their original content. The trick was to convince the people who used their products on washday to use them once again.
In reacquainting the people to use soap again, the surviving soap products conducted their own specific type of advertising. Duz, the soap in the bright red box and our subject in this article, took an aggressive approach. It went head on against Tide and the other new detergents. Listeners heard about Duz thumbing its nose at detergent on THE GUIDING LIGHT on CBS Radio .
To introduce the enemy to the listeners, all detergent products in Duz advertising were referred to as “No Rinse Chemicals.” No one could dispute the cleaning ability of the No Rinse Chemicals, so Duz focused on how the hands felt when they came on contact with the wash water. If you’re not familiar with the lifestyle during radio’s golden age, let me remind you that when this series of Duz commercials aired (1951), wringer washing machines were popular. A normal washing procedure had the housewife taking the laundry out of the wash water by hand and feeding it through the wringer by hand. If those No Rinse Chemicals were used, the constant hand dunking took their toll on the housewife’s hands. When a typical washing was done, the poor hands of were red, chapped, sore, and more than ready for a rubdown with soothing hand lotion. Since Duz was a granulated soap, it didn’t have a trace of those nasty red hand inducing chemicals. Like it always did, Duz washed the laundry with “Rich, Real Soap Combined With 2 Active Detergents.” It was a soap that did everything from washing away the toughest dirt from work clothes to cleaning fine fabrics without harming them. All of this with the gentleness as a toilet soap to the hands. When the washing was done, the housewife’s hands were still soft and smooth despite the constant dunking into the Duz treated wash water.
As an added incentive, announcer Clayton “Bud” Collyer suggested that the listeners buy the familiar red box of Duz in the “Giant Economy Size.” With a bigger box on the shelf, Duz users were less likely to run out of their favorite soap when it was time to wash the laundry. Collyer stated that buying the Duz Giant Economy Size actually saved money in the long run. It also reduced the possibility of buying another soap--- or even a box of No Rinse Chemicals (perish the thought!) if there wasn’t any Duz on the grocer’s shelf.
On paper, Duz Vs Detergent was an uphill battle for the soap. Detergent was definitely here to stay, but Duz didn’t exactly go away, either. It definitely held its own as an alternative for people who hated detergent as much as Duz did. This rivalry continued for the remainder of radio’s golden age. Softness to clothes was Duz’s main theme in its advertising. Of course, Duz continued to provide a safe soap to the hands of those housewives who still used the wringer washing machines.
Sadly, Duz is but a memory today, but its fight against detergent is very admirable. With the popularity of detergent, the soap went further than anyone could have imagined. There were a lot of people who agreed what was said in the Duz commercials and print ads that No Rinse Chemicals and red hands shared a common ground--- and the only red they wanted to see at washday was the bright red box their favorite soap came in.