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Trademark of the Henkel Persil
Branch in Genthin
Front and side views of a Persil tin can. The slogan “Persil remains Persil” dates back to 1913
Persil tin with the slogan "Persil makes everything new"
In 1951, VEB Persil-Werk promoted the GDR variant of the detergent in the east of Berlin with facade advertising on Alexanderplatz .

Persil is a trademark for a detergent of the Henkel Group . The term is a syllable from the original main components of the detergent per borate ( sodium perborate , as a bleaching agent) and sil ikat ( sodium silicate , as a soil remover ).


Researchers from the company Henkel & Cie. developed a detergent with properties that Henkel described and advertised as being automatic . The laundry no longer had to be rubbed vigorously on the washboard , the chemicals contained dissolved dirt without mechanical intervention.

On June 6, 1907, the first advertisement for Persil appeared in the Düsseldorfer Stadtanzeiger .

In 1908, Henkel gave a guarantee that the product was safe to use, which was intended to compensate for any damage caused by its use. Persil stood out from other detergents in that it was only sold in the original box and not as loose goods from the start.

Persil is also the French word for parsley ; The Imperial Patent Office therefore hesitated for years to recognize the term as a word mark .

On August 4, 1921, the foundation stone was laid for a Henkel branch in Genthin , where Persil was manufactured from March 1923.

Persil was not manufactured during the Second World War, as the Reich government issued an order with the outbreak of war that prescribed a uniform detergent.

Today Persil is the best-selling laundry detergent in Germany. At the end of the 1950s, the green background color was used, from 1970 the name was set in red, sans serif, bold font . A special feature were "Persil 59", "Persil 65" and "Persil 70" with additional years in the brand name. “Persil 70” came onto the market as early as 1969 as the “detergent of the 1970s”.

Small innovations were repeatedly introduced to the market under the brand , such as liquid detergent in 1987 , small spheres ("pearls") instead of powder in 1994, and liquid detergent in self-dissolving sachets in 2002.

In the GDR , the former Henkel branch in Genthin produced a detergent also called Persil until 1968. In the 1950s, the company initially operated as VEB Persil-Werk , later as VEB Waschmittelwerk Genthin . After the expropriation in 1945, Genthin kept the trademark rights for Persil, ATA , IMI and SIL for the east. With the introduction of Milwa at the end of the 1950s (manufactured in Prettin ), the “Persil” brand lost a lot of its importance in the GDR. After the introduction of the new Genthiner brand Spee in 1968, it quickly became the best-selling laundry detergent in the GDR. The production of "Persil" was then stopped in the GDR. After the “Wende” , Henkel bought back the Genthin plant.

In 2007 Persil celebrated its 100th birthday with the slogan "100 Years Persil - Into the Future".


As early as 1908, Henkel caused a sensation when men dressed in white strolled with white umbrellas for Persil in Berlin. Advertisers later donned larger-than-life Persil packages and walked around town with them, an early case of a walking act . In 1922 the Berlin graphic artist Kurt Heiligenstaedt created the famous White Lady who dominated Persil advertising until the 1960s.

From 1924 "household advisors" were employed, and in 1928 the first "household school" was opened together with Dr. Oetker ; This idea was taken up again in the 1950s with specially built, architecturally striking Persil schools, including the Persil school in Munich . So-called sky scribes were still in use in the 1930s , aircraft that advertised Persil with smoky writing. In 1932, Henkel produced the full-length movie Laundry - Washing - Wellbeing , which was seen by 30 million people up to the beginning of the war.

A commercial was made in 1948. This highly metaphorical cartoon tells a fairy tale in which all animals - because they lived at the pole - were white: the bear was white, the fox and the penguins. At some point the sun began to melt the ice, the bear stumbled into a puddle of dirt and got a brown fur, etc. Thanks to a sailor who happened to drive past the pole with Persil with him, some animals could be washed clean again. The detergent was just not enough for the many penguins, so they only got a “ clean slate ”.

The first commercial that was broadcast on German television on November 3, 1956 by Bayerischer Rundfunk, was a commercial for Persil with the main actors Beppo Brem and Liesl Karlstadt . From 1975 to 1985 and again in 1995, the “Persil man” Jan-Gert Hagemeyer (1938–2013) promoted Persil in the manner of a news program.

At the end of the 1980s , the group drew attention to the brand with the “Little Firefly from Persil” - an animated cartoon character that tried to appeal to the younger target group, the so-called “Baby Detergent Boomers ” (BDBs).

The Persil neon sign on the spire of the Wilhelm-Marx-Haus in Düsseldorf is particularly well-known and has been for more than 50 years. The neon sign is supported by a sophisticated technique. The letters are on a kind of lifting platform, which is shut down during the day and so the advertisement cannot be seen. In the dark, the stage goes up and shows the Persil lettering in all four directions.

Persil clocks

At the end of the 1920s, electrically illuminated advertising pillars with clock systems were set up. It depicts the woman dressed in white with a Florentine hat designed by Kurt Heiligenstaedt .

  • 1928 in Lünen at the junction of Münsterstrasse / Cappenberger Strasse, damaged and removed in 1942.
  • 1929 in Lünen in front of the main train station on Münsterstrasse
  • Baumberg, from 2017
  • Büsum , the Persiluhr won in a nationwide competition by the Henkel Group has been decorating Büsum's anchorage since 1998.
  • Düsseldorf , which actually stands on Kamper Acker in the Düsseldorf district of Holthausen, very close to the Henkel factory.
  • Ebingen , Zollernalb district
  • Eschwege , Werra-Meißner district
  • Flensburg , on Burgplatz in Flensburg next to the deaconess hospital.
  • Fürth Fürth Persiluhr was shipped to the billing facility - December 15, 2009
  • Genthin , in the town's market square.
  • Hamm , Persiluhr on Weststrasse.
  • Hattingen at the Steinhagentor
  • Helgoland at the landing bridge (mostly undated photos from 1928 with three different pictures of women up to the renewal of the landing bridge (Rickmers-Bollwerk) in 1935).
  • Koethen Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse 21
  • Krefeld at the entrance to the Fischeln city park, she holds her Florentine hat with a light hand.
  • Lünen in the pedestrian zone at the corner of Munsterstrasse and Cappenberger Strasse.
  • Mühlhausen Thuringia - Görmarstrasse.
  • Oelsnitz / Vogtl. The Oelsnitzer Persildame cannot decide on a time.
  • Oldenburg (Oldb) Julius-Mosen-Platz.
  • Recklinghausen on Neumarkt.
  • Straubing at the intersection of Innere Passauer Straße / Mühlsteingasse and Heerstraße
  • Travemünde since 2018 in place of a listed advertising clock in the Dr.-Zippel-Park on the Außenallee.
  • Wismar Since 2006 the Persiluhr has been back in the Lindengarten on the square in front of the former "Royal Swedish Provision House", the former polyclinic and the former employment office.

They were popular meeting places for dates.

In 1987, on the 80th anniversary of the Persil brand, Henkel began to offer this watch to cities free of charge in places where there was previously evidence of a "Persil watch" in order to bring Persil's old marketing to the fore again with the "White Lady" . For example, a Persil clock was set up in Flensburg, Hamm and Lünen. In Lünen , the bus stop in the center was even renamed “Lünen, Persiluhr”; a hotel there is also called “An der Persil-Uhr”. On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the brand, nine more Persil watches were given away to various cities (including Krefeld and Oelsnitz / Vogtl. ).

Trademark law

At the beginning there was a lack of clarity about the future of the name, as the brand could not be protected on the French market: persil is the French word for parsley . That is why the Henkel detergent is marketed in France under the name LeChat.

In 1909 Joseph Crosfield bought the right to use the Persil brand in some countries (FR, IR, NL, NZ) . In 1911, Brunner, Mond and Co bought Joseph Crosfield . In 1919 Brunner, Mond and Co sold the Crosfield business to Lever Brothers . In 1929 Margarine Unie and Lever Brothers migrated to Unilever . The right to use Persil has migrated with it every time.

Persil abroad

Unilever-Persil in a supermarket

Henkel sells Persil under this name in around 30 countries around the world.

A detergent sold in France , Great Britain , Ireland and New Zealand called Persil comes from the Unilever concern . In France, Henkel's Persil is called Le Chat. In Italy and Greece , Henkel's Persil operates as Dixan. In Austria, however, another laundry detergent is sold by Henkel under the name Dixan. In Germany in the 1960s, Dixan was a special detergent for the emerging washing machines, for which many of the detergents commonly used up to that point were not suitable.

Persil has also been sold in America since 2015. This is remarkable in that Persil already existed there 100 years earlier - but only for a very short time.

See also

Web links

Commons : Persil  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. Entry in the trademark register of the DPMA .
  2. Wolfgang Feiter, Alexandra Boy: 90 years of Persil. The story of a brand. Henkel, Düsseldorf 1997. p. 52.
  3. Beppo made a mess. November 03, 2006 - 50 years ago: First commercial on German television. Westdeutscher Rundfunk , November 3, 2006, accessed on November 13, 2014 .
  4. ^ A b Fredy Niklowitz: The "slim Mathilde" in Lünen. "We meet at the Persiluhr". 2005
  21. (from January 30, 2014): The Persil watch is back in Fischeln , accessed on June 17, 2017