You'll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.
(Pepsodent Toothpaste, 1953)
As commercial television became a viewing option from 1955 in the UK onwards, this tagline to promote the American toothpaste brand became one of the most memorable jingles introduced. Yearning for loss of yellow plaque may not have been the theme – but the commercial appeared at a time when both sides of the Atlantic were buying into the complex cocktail of desire for fictional pasts and fantasy futures that still informs branding strategy today. The presence of an audio-visual screen in the home and aggressive but very inventive marketing accelerated the British population's widespread and relatively rapid adoption of American brands and American brand strategy.
Yearning for a golden age of innocence and achievement was a key theme of media and politics on both sides of the Atlantic. One possible influence was the need to heel the scars that the disruption of the Second World War had created; combined with the search for comfort as the new threat of the Cold War loomed. The UK's event horizon in the 1950s was initially dominated by the crowning of a young queen – an occasion harnessed by royalty and politicians as a source of pride and motivation. However, by the end of the decade, a cocktail of the optimism and the pessimism that at ...