Beecham was the longtime owner of Brylcreem. Sara Lee bought the personal care unit of SmithKline Beecham in 1992. In 2012, the global rights to sell Brylcreem brand was sold by Sara Lee Corporation to Unilever.
Various Brylcreem products are sold worldwide. Brylcreem is marketed in the US by Combe Incorporated, in Europe by Unilever and in India by HUL. Before Godrej acquired 51 percent stake of Sara Lee in their joint venture Godrej Sara Lee in 2010, the brand was distributed by Godrej in India.
It was first advertised on television with the jingle "Brylcreem — A Little Dab'll Do Ya! Brylcreem — You'll look so debonaire. Brylcreem — The gals'll all pursue ya; they’ll love to run their fingers through your hair!."
The Brylcreem TV advertisement included a cartoon animation of a man with initially tousled hair who happily has a little dab applied, and, miraculously, the hair combs and smooths itself.
When the dry look became popular, partly inspired by the unoiled moptops of the Beatles, the last line was changed from "They'll love to run their fingers through your hair", to "They'll love the natural look it gives your hair."
Subsequent television advertisements used the mottoes "Grooms without gumming" and later, in the 1970s in the UK and Canada, "A little dab of Brylcreem on your hair gives you the Brylcreem jump in the air".
Notable users and popular culture
Brylcreem poster at a UK railway station, 1944
Royal Air Force personnel, especially pilots, were nicknamed 'Brylcreem Boys' because of their conspicuous use of the hair cream.
Brylcreem is referenced in the song "Pencil Thin Mustache" by Jimmy Buffett.
In Mad Men (Season 1, Episode 7), Roger Sterling orders more drinks before a meeting with the Nixon campaign declaring "Well, what the hell? It's the GOP. They'll never smell it over the stench of the Brylcreem."
In Call the Midwife (Series 3: Ep. 1 "Christmas Special"), Dr. Turner's son, Timothy, asks for a jar of Brylcreem while imprisoned in an iron lung upon a Polio diagnosis."