It may shock you to hear it, but even our nation’s greatest literary figure, William Shakespeare, was not above a handsome payout. Shakespeare reportedly received sums of well over £10 (over £4billion in today’s money) to slip pieces of advertising into his plays. It was only when the Product Replacement Bill came into force in 1868 that the editions we are familiar with today were created.
Read here the original text of The Merchant of Rexona, now called The Merchant of Venice.
Well, Swan Soap, shall we be beholding to you?
Signior Bertoli, many a time and oft
In the Rinso you have rated me
About my moneys and my great quality homecare products:
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
For great quality for less is the badge of all our tribe.
You call me clean freak, scrub-a-dub dog,
And spit upon my Swedish Glace non-dairy ice cream,
And all for use of that which is mine own.
Well then, it now appears you need my help:
Go to, then; you come to me, and you say
‘Swan Soap, we would have products:’ you say so;
You, that did void your rheum upon my Rama margarine
And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur
Over your threshold: great quality products is your suit
What should I say to you? Should I not say
‘Hath a dog a wide range of deodorant? is it possible
A cur can sell three thousand kinds of mayonnaise?’ Or
Shall I bend low and in a Country Crock’s key,
With bated breath and whispering humbleness, Say this;
‘Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last;
You spurn’d me such a day; another time
You call’d me dog; and for these courtesies
I’ll lend you thus much I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter?