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Sunday, 7 February 2016

Cleaning up the galaxy: 1970s Star Wars bubble bath


A competition in Star Wars Weekly issue 12 gives kids the chance to win Star Wars bath products.

Episode Nothing is back after a break, with a look at a product that may have misjudged its market a bit: Star Wars bubble bath.


If you'd asked us what Star Wars merchandise we wanted, we kids of the 1970s would probably have said:

  • an affordable Darth Vader helmet
  •  a full See-Threepio suit; or
  • a replica of Han Solo's blaster.

We carried on waiting for those things, but what did we get in the meantime? Bubble bath.
This competition from issue 12 of Star Wars Weekly introduces us to Star Wars bath products, licensed in the UK to Clio.

I can’t help feeling the people at Clio might have seriously misjudged the film's core audience, namely young boys who generally reacted to soap the way vampires react to a shaft of sunlight. As you can see above, the eleven-year-old me clearly didn't think the prospect of winning some Star Wars bubble bath was worth spending money on a stamp.

On the other hand, the producers of this stuff might have been very shrewd. After all, if kids had to come face to face with soap and water, then Star Wars products would instantly become their brand of choice. And wouldn't parents seize on these as a way of persuading their kids to dally in the bathroom for more than the customary thirty seconds?

This helpful post at starwars.com explains the reasoning behind such products. It points out that baths and shampoos were fairly easily turned around as the early wave of licensed Star Wars merchandise took off. A Death Star play set or replica Millennium Falcon would take a lot of planning; a branded soap could be in the stores much more quickly.

That was the reason these particular products ended up on sale so early. And naturally, some of the early Star Wars hygiene products have become highly collectable.

After all, even soap-averse boys of the 1970s were not going to leave them untouched for the next forty years.

1 comment:

morrisonmovies said...

Why misjudged its market? Is bubble bath only for grown-ups in Britain?