Silent star Bessie Love, real name Juanita Horton, pitches for the Huron Fish Company, 1923. Not terribly glamorous, but Hollywood and the advertising business were still in their infancy.
Ever since there were Hollywood stars there have been star product endorsements.
Corporations and their advertising companies were quick to understand that those larger than life figures floating like angels on the silver screen were potent persuaders. Thus, the synergistic relationship between one product, the movie star, and another product, cigarettes, perfume, makeup, whatever, was born and continues with increasing power and sophistication to this very day.
The idea is simplicity itself: Buy me, be me.
Dolores Costello was one of the great beauties of the silent era. Her milky complexion was the ideal to which women aspired. The assumption in this late 1920's endorsement is that only Kleenex tissues are soft enough for such skin. The terrible irony is that Costello's lovely skin was ravaged by the harsh makeup used in silent films. Today, Costello's granddaughter Drew Barrymore endorses Cover Girl makeup.
In the 1930's, when Carole Lombard pitched for Old Gold Strike cigarettes, she was Hollywood's most popular screwball comedienne. Looking elegant and ultra slinky Lombard projects glamour and sophistication. Let's not forget that during Hollywood's Golden Age, cigarettes were not just cigarettes, they were metaphors for sex.
Veronica Lake achieved worldwide fame because of her peek-a-boo hair style. But in this 1940's ad for North Star Blankets, her hair is pulled back and up. Probably because the peek-a-boo was considered too dangerous for women working in war time industries where it could get caught in machinery. But let's face it, Veronica Lake is barely recognizable. A tragic figure, Lake was bipolar and an alcoholic. Her finances and career crashed and burned after a few short years. She ended as a waitress in a diner and drank herself to death at age 50.
Barbara Stanwyck was Hollywood's greatest actress. She was equally brilliant in comedy and drama. Always a thorough professional, crews adored her and directors admired her genius. Never conventionally glamorous, Stanwyck aged with grace letting her hair go gray and makes no attempt to pretend otherwise in this 1954 ad for Lustre Creme shampoo.
Okay, ladies, it's time to put on some weight. Yup, in this 1965 ad for Wate-On, Raquel Welsh endorses the full figure. Savor the notion.