Saturday, September 26, 2009

I Want To Be A Breck Girl!

Dr. John Breck developed one of the first liquid shampoos in 1908, in Massachusetts.
During the first years of his business, distribution was only in the New England area. Then in 1946, the shampoo was only sold in beauty salons. Advertising began in 1932, but was limited to trade publications.
In 1936, Edward Breck, son of John, took over the management of the company. He became acquainted with Charles Sheldon, a portrait painter and illustrator. He was noted for his art nouveau style, pastels and portraits of movie stars. He created his first pastel portraits for Breck in 1936, which became one of America's longest running ad campaign.
The first Breck girl was 17 year old Roma Whitney and was registered as Breck's trademark in 1951. Sheldon had created 107 oil paintings and pastels but favored "ordinary women" such as family members, neighbors and employees.
After Sheldon retired, Ralph Williams continued the Breck campaign. He used brighter colors and as women became more independent, he carefully integrated each girls personality.
These advertisements usually ran on the back covers of magazines such as Ladies Home
Journal, Seventeen, Vogue, and more. Some of these Breck girls included, Marylin Skeldon, Cheryl Tiegs, Cybill Shepherd, Jaclyn Smith, Kim Basinger, Brook Shields, and Christy Brinkley.
By the 1960's. Breck held about a 20% share of the shampoo market and the Breck girls are now in the advertising records in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.


djWhite said...

So -- how many of you write this blog? Just wondering?

ethelmaepotter! said...

Me too! Me too! Ralph Williams was the person whose style I emulated when I became a portrait artist. I used to tear off his pages and throw the magazines away; I was devastated when one day my mother decided I had too much "junk" and threw my Breck and TVGuide collections out!