Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Advertising Sign.
Advertising Sign.
November 1939. Rinso by R. S. Hudson.
November 1950.
October 1953.
November 1953.
January 1955.

Rinso was the brand name of a laundry soap most commonly used in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

  • 1936-1950 Rinso was one of the first mass-marketed soap powders. It was advertised widely on radio, being the sponsor of many network programs such as the popular daytime soap opera Big Sister from 1936 to 1946, and the night-time programs Big Town from 1937 to 1942, Mayor of the Town from 1942 to 1943, and most notably The Amos 'n' Andy Show from 1943 to 1950. During this time the product's advertisements happily chanted the slogan "Rinso white, Rinso bright" and boasted that Rinso contained "Solium, the sunlight ingredient".
  • In the 1950s sales plummeted when a new detergent, Tide, manufactured by rival Procter and Gamble, proved to be much more popular.
  • 1960s Rinso was revamped in the mid-1960s, and given a new name, Sunshine Rinso. The justification for the name change was that the new and improved Rinso now had "sunshine whiteners".
  • There was heavy ad backing (for example, a heavily played commercial during this time period was a pop version of a Sunshine Rinso jingle, set to You Are My Sunshine). Sales did not improve appreciably, and Rinso eventually disappeared from store shelves by the mid-1970s, although the liquid detergent Rinso Blue could still be seen on U.S. shelves as recently as the late 1980s.
  • Rinso was, in effect, replaced with another Unilever detergent, Surf, in its three major markets. However, Rinso is still being made by Unilever for the Turkish, Asian, and Central American markets.
  • In 1992, the Southern California-based 99 Cents Only Stores purchased the rights to the name "Rinso" from Unilever for use in the United States. Rinso brand cleaning supplies are now prominently displayed in their stores.

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