Simple Skin Care 1987 Lily Advert

Simople skin care products 1980s

This 1987 advert for Simple skin care products features one the cleverest ideas I've seen in an advert. The fact that it is such a simple but incredibly thought-provoking advert for a brand called Simple is also a stroke of genius.

Narrated by Joanna Lumley and directed by Len Fulford, we see a beautiful and pristine white lily flower being sprayed with horrible artificial paints and perfume by a robotic arm, while a disturbing, Satie-esque piano piece called "Gilding the Lily" plays in the background - it was actually composed by Lord David Dundas, who had a No.3 hit with "Jeans On" in 1976. 

"When something is as pure and natural as this, would you add artificial colouring?", Joanna asks the viewer. Well, of course not, and it's an advert that definitely made many people sit-up and think seriously about what they were spraying onto their bodies. Indeed, the brand is still going strong today, and you can watch the company's latest videos on the Simple Youtube channel.

The 1980s was a transitional period between using the old school soap bars and the new-fangled liquid soaps. You may remember having a bar of Palmolive or Pink Camay in your bathroom, or your Gran having a bar of carbolic soap such as Lifebouy. Actually, the thought of sharing the same bar of soap with your family and friends would now seems pretty revolting when I look back, but it never harmed us and it's far preferable to a world being slowly choked to death by microplastics. 

The ad slogan was "Not Perfumed - Not Coloured - Just Kind". The Simple brand is now over 50 years old and is currently owned by Unilever.

You will note that none of the products featured at the end of the advert are in plastic bottles. Milk also came in glass bottles and was delivered by an electric milk float, whereas now it comes in horrible plastic containers (and tastes of the container it comes in) and is delivered to supermarkets by filthy diesel trucks. You could also buy it in cardboard cartons from the shops, but even these were often coated in polythylene plastic, so glass is definitely the better option. You may also remember returning your glass pop bottles back in the 60s and 70s and receiving a reward (usually 10p) for your hard work!

Plastic was not used as widely it is today, and the myth that we are now living in a more eco-friendly world certainly doesn't fool those of us who lived through the 1970s and 80s. 

1989 Clearasil Advert with Patsy Palmer

White lily being sprayed blue by a robotic arm