Monday, 3 March 2014

1954 OMO washing powder - Old Mother Owl

When I was growing up there was always a packet of this on the kitchen windowsill, but I haven't seen it here in the UK for quite a few years, though I have seen Surf and Persil and various other Unilever products. Apparently it first appeared in 1954 and though discontinued here, it is still popular in other parts of the world.

Brazil, Turkey and Germany, Australia and Romania stll use OMO, and it has just been re-launched in Kenya where it was first available in 1953. In Pakistan the Surf brand has been so popular that it has entered the language and any washing powder is now 'surf' in Urdu!

According to Unilever's website, OMO was first registered in the United Kingdom as early as 1908, so it is the oldest laundry powder brand in the country. You won't believe it, but the acronym OMO which is a household name stands for “Old Mother Owl” - presumably because owls are associated with wisdom and it was supposed to mean you were making a wise purchase!

Actually, I remember making fake snow for our Christmas Yule Log table decoration by mixing OMO with water to form a snowy sludge. You can't do that with the new plastic capsules or tabs!

This is a great advert for Omo from 1960, in which 'all the girls' aprons' are sparkling white. 

More Vintage Omo images can be found at: 

From the Free online Acronym Dictionary:

OMO On My Own
OMO Open Market Operations
OMO Om Shanti Om (movie, India)
OMO Odd Man Out
OMO One Man Operated (now replaced by OPO)
OMO Other Military Operations
OMO Old Mother Owl
OMO Old Men Online (gaming community)
OMO Old Man Out
OMO Oracle Media Object
OMO Our Mother Ocean
OMO Oxford Millennium Orchestra
OMO Optical-Millimeterwave-Optical (TeraBurst)
OMO Operational Management Office

Any other suggestions anyone, for the OMO acronym?

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