Olay originated in South Africa as Oil of Olay. Graham Wulff (1916–2008), a former Unilever chemist from Durban, started it in 1952. He chose the name “Oil of Olay” as a spin on the word “lanolin”, a key ingredient.
It was unique in the early days because it was a pink fluid rather than a cream, packaged in a heavy glass bottle. Wulff and his marketing partner, Jack Lowe, a former copywriter, had tested the product on their wives and friends and were confident in its uniqueness and quality.