SOFT-SOAPING EMPIRE: Commodity racism and imperial advertising

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Before 1851, advertising scarcely existed. As a commercial form, it was generally regarded as a confession of weakness, a rather shabby last resort. Most advertising was limited to small newspaper advertisements, cheap handbills and posters. After midcentury, however, soap manufacturers began to pioneer the use of pictorial advertising as a central part of business policy. Economic competition with the United States and Germany created the need for a more aggressive promotion of British products and led to the first real innovations in advertising. In 1884, the year of the Berlin Conference, the first wrapped soap was sold under a brand name. This small event signified a major transformation in capitalism, as imperial competition gave rise to the creation of monopolies. Soap became one of the first commodities to register the historic shift from myriad small businesses to the great imperial monopolies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Body
Subtitle of host publicationa Reader
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781000100877
ISBN (Print)9780415340076
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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