In 1933, Procter & Gamble introduced
Dreft, the first synthetic detergent ever made. It was a
definite improvement from soap, but Dreft fell short of
what the company wanted. Dreft could clean lightly soiled clothes,
but was ineffective against the heavily dirty clothes. Despite Dreft’s
shortcomings, Procter & Gamble knew they were on the right
track. For the next 10 years, the company kept plugging away in finding the
solution. After numerous tests, the detergent that would become Tide
was ready to become a reality. Unfortunately, World War II put its debut
In 1946, Procter & Gamble introduced
Tide to 6 different regions of the United States. To capture the
attention of the consumers, Tide was packaged in a bright yellow
and orange box, which was similar in design to Oxydol’s famous
bull’s-eye package. It wasn’t hard to miss on the dealer’s shelves--- and the
people didn’t want to miss it, either!
In all 6 regions where it was sold, Tide
was an instant success. The demand for "The Washday Miracle"
quickly dwindled down the supply. Dealers who sold it had a difficult time
keeping enough Tide on hand. It would take another 2-3 years before
Procter & Gamble could make enough Tide to be
Once it was introduced to a nationwide audience
on the PERRY MASON serial program, Tide quickly
became the top selling laundry product. Its popularity was so dominant, there
was a major concern for the makers of powdered, flaked, and bar laundry soaps.
It was the beginning of the end of soap products for the laundry. The rival soap
makers had the choice of either converting their popular soap brands to detergents
or to discontinue making them entirely.
As you know, Procter & Gamble
is the creator of Tide--- but it was also the company that made
Ivory Flakes, Ivory Snow, Duz, and Oxydol--- all
established soap products. Along with the other soap brands, sales of all 4
Procter & Gamble soap products also decreased because
of Tide’s popularity.
Since Tide was a laundry product,
it was also a sponsor of the daytime soap operas. It was here that
soap products got a little revenge on "The Washday Miracle."
Although Tide dominated the sales of laundry products, its popularity
didn’t change the slang "Soap Opera" into "Detergent
Tide either sponsored or co-sponsored established
serials like LIFE CAN BE BEAUTIFUL, PEPPER YOUNG’S FAMILY, ROSEMARY,
PERRY MASON, THE GUIDING LIGHT, and THE RIGHT TO HAPPINESS.
Other then being sponsored by the same product, the common factor these serials
had was announcer Bob Dixon, who was the commercial spokesman for Tide.
On one of the commercials from PERRY MASON,
Dixon described Tide as a "Mid-Century Miracle."
It most certainly was an accurate statement, because this one product alone
completely changed how the laundry was washed. The competition eventually came
out with their own brands of detergent, but not one of them could surpass or
even equal Tide in popularity.