The idea of marketing soaps as "Love in the Afternoon" was not a unique concept, as rival network NBC had produced television advertisements promoting their popular couples under the "Love in the Afternoon" banner in 1974. (video clip, registration req'd) ABC decided to pursue their own "Love in the Afternoon" advertisements when NBC abandoned their campaign.
The "Love in the Afternoon" promos, for the majority of the campaign's decade-long run, featured a simulated sunrise against a blue sky, with the sun centering itself and then flashing to reveal the ABC logo zoom in agains a different background. Inidivual show previews would then been seen, illustrating the many romantic, heated entanglements of the couples-du-jour, but sometimes highlighting non-romantic storylines. Usually two shows from the lineup would be previwed per promo, but it was not uncommon in the early 1980s for there to have been a third soap preview included. With the 1981-82 season, the graphic motif of the campaign was upgraded considerably, with the sunrise now appearing against a more generic blue background with black lines piercing through; the sun positions itself, and for the first time, flashes the word LOVE in capital letters to semi-title the campaign. The ABC lettering appears inside the "O" in LOVE. Also, between 1982 and 1985, game shows and daytime specials would be added on at the end of "Love in the Afternoon" promos, with their different tone used to bookend the dramatic scenes featured in the main parts of the promo.
There were also two different versions of the "Love in the Afternoon" musical jingle, the original being a slower, more melodious ditty, and the later one, a slightly faster, uplifiting piece; the latter was the best known version used full time from 1977 to 1985. However, the original version still turned up occasionally, at late as 1981.
The "Love in the Afternoon" campaign was only a moderate success in the late 1970s; it finally took off in 1980 and 1981 by advertising the wildly popular romance of Luke and Laura on General Hospital. The campaign also found success in promoting popular couples on another ABC serial, All My Children, such as Cliff and Nina, Greg and Jenny, and Jesse and Angie. Other shows profiled in "Love in the Afternoon" advertisements included One Life to Live, Loving, Ryan's Hope, and The Edge of Night.
In 1983, ABC briefly altered the "Love in the Afternoon" commercials to advertise "Loving in the morning," a nod to its then-new serial, Loving, which premiered in a late morning timeslot. After a few months, the regular "Love in the Afternoon" commercials resumed.
As the the long-running campaign saw retirement in 1985, it was initially transitioned into a more modern replacement series of commercials utilizing the slogan "Love it!", with coincided with ABC's 1985-86 network campaign You'll Love It.
Over twenty years after the commercials ended production, "Love in the Afternoon" is a term used to describe the stories told on soap operas, irrespective of network affiliation.