YouTube: ClassicSoapOperas

Why Did We Start Calling Daytime Dramas 'Soap Operas'?

The golden age of television was a time for advertising and sales visionaries to make their mark in the world. Before we get on to TV, let's take a step back to the 20s. In the 20s and 30s, radio shows were still a prominent form of entertainment for families.

Popular shows that people listened to on the radio were Amos n' Andy, The Shadow, Painted Dreams, and of course, The Guiding Light. (Thank you, Irna Phillips, for Guiding Light.)

Why Are They Called 'Soap Operas'?

Guiding Light, one of the most notable daytime dramas, or soap operas, went from a radio drama to the longest-running TV drama (or soap opera). Now, why are they called soap operas all of a sudden?

As I mentioned, advertisement companies saw an excellent opportunity for the audience that went from sitting by a radio to sitting in front of a television. No longer did they need to advertise for the ear, but they could write for the eye now.

This is groundbreaking. Imagine having a loyal following of women sitting in front of their televisions every single weekday. It was an opportunity advertisers couldn't miss. They went on to team up with soap manufacturers like Procter & Gamble to advertise cleaning products throughout daytime soaps.

Surely your mothers or grandmothers can attest that they couldn't get through an episode of Guiding Light without seeing a commercial for cleaning products. In today's times, you might think it's a bit misogynistic, but it was a smart move for companies trying to make money.

They knew that they had homemakers watching these television shows. Who better to advertise household goods to than the woman keeping her household in line? If anyone was going to be watching daytime TV, it was the stay-at-home wife.

To this day, I see soap companies advertising on daytime television. Surely if you watch an episode of Days of Our Lives tomorrow on NBC, you'll be able to spot a Colgate-Palmolive or Tide commercial. Or, check out The Bold and the Beautiful on CBS tomorrow. You'll be able to spot a trend.

Sick days home on the couch as a kid consisted of TV shows like All My Children, General Hospital and One Life to Live, and yet I never put two and two together until a quick history lesson by a media professor many years ago.

So there we have it, soap operas. It's genius and feels like something you'd see on an episode of Mad Men, but advertisers knew the daytime serial audience and executed a smart marketing plan.

If it's time to stock up on your favorite household goods, you know where to find Procter & Gamble products. If you'd like to switch up your current line of cleaning products for something new, and something natural, consider these cleaning companies.

Dr. Bronners


Dr. Bronner's soaps are made with no synthetic preservatives and detergents. This 100% natural soap is an 18-in-1. Check out all the many ways you can use it.

White House

White House Foods has 100% all-natural cleaning products as well. If your skin is sensitive to chemicals, consider using White House cleaner.


If you want to incorporate more natural beauty and hygiene products into your lifestyle, take a look at Schmidt's soap line.


AspenClean is another cleaning product line that carries non-toxic products. Not only are the ingredients 100% vegan, but the bottles are made from recycled plastic.

Branch Basics

A few lovely Texas natives created Branch Basics. They have a wonderful line of plant and mineral-based cleaning products. Toss the toxins!

This post was originally published on February 18, 2020.

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