The White and Bright Aesthetics of Selling Clean

Body Soap in a Hyper-Commercial Context

Advertisement and branding influence our way of relating to products. We are constantly exposed to notions that shape our mindset and attitude towards products and how to feel when consuming them.

Today most body soap advertisement and design operate on the principle of hedonism rather than practicality. It is no longer a necessity but an indulgence. This hedonism is the most dominant trope, but not the only one, when selling body soap hyper commercially today. Consumers are e.g. being sold the idea of “the other” by taken us to imaginary places using soap names such as Asian Inspiration or Eastern Spirit.

Based on the English words from the front labels of 200 body soap products collected in supermarkets in Sweden, Denmark and Norway 2016-2017, Body Soap Name Generator explores how language, a combination of glittering generalities (emotionally appealing words) and value-laden particularity, is used to sell cleanliness on a massive scale.

In simulating the constant repetition advertisement depends on, this generator creates more than 800,000,000 possible product names—more than a lifetime of body soap names.

Music by
Courtesy of Equilibrium Srl/Tobacco Music edition

Thanks to Johanna Lewengard, Maximillian George/New Management, Jacob Broms Engblom, Clear Channel, Afrang Nordlöf Malekian, Martin Bellander and my wonderful classmates