This film is part of Free

Barbara's Secret

Lifebuoy Soap holds the key to love and happiness in a coastal Devon village

Advert 1923 11 mins Silent


“It smells so sweet and wholesome. How did you manage it?” The marketing of Lifebuoy soap is hung here on an entertainingly flimsy boy-meets-girl story, told tongue-in-cheek and filmed on location in a gorgeously picturesque coastal village. It purports to take place in Seaporth in Devon. There is no such place, but the village of Lynmouth in North Devon provided the backdrop for the most scenic shots.

Lever Brothers (the UK company that later merged with the Dutch Margarine Unie to become Unilever) was always ahead of the pack when it came to using film as a promotional tool. In the pre-television interwar years, cinema advertising would often run for well over five, 10 or even 15 minutes - burying the product placement in drama, comedy or documentary. With the rise of longer-form online branded entertainment, the advertising industry today is arguably returning to those roots. Thanks to Guy Bunclark for identifying Lynmouth as the principal location for this production.