Deodorant Ads: The Shame of Body Stench

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Body odor. It's a scourge that has plagued humankind since the dawn of time, wrecking havoc on one's social life. And that's just the angle that advertisers used to shame people into practicing better hygiene. These ads say, "Hey, you. Yes, YOU. In case you haven't noticed by your lack of a dating life and friendship, you stink. Use our product." Well, some of them wouldn't be too far off the mark. After all, no one wants to kiss or hang out with someone who smells like the monkey exhibit at the zoo. 

Two ads that warned how B.O. can cause Old Maid syndrome, too. 

Wait--did I just read that overweight people stink more than average weight people? Did I just see the words "stout" and "plump"? Yes, we did. This is not so much an ad, but an advertorial from a 1962 Woman's Day. However, what I find most disturbing about it is the accompanying photo of the girl who appears to be anything but "plump." I hope not too many girls who saw this ad said to themselves, "Wait, I look just like the girl in the photo. I guess I'm fat." 

For some reason, the 70s ushered in an obsession with feminine odor and advertising settings in fields. It's perplexing because everyday feminine odor is usually not detectable, especially through clothing, unless your face is pressed up against someone's crotch. I mean, we were showering and bathing regularly in the 70s, right? Apparently, not using Pristeen will get you banished to a secluded field.

Hasn't she heard of Odo-Ro-No, the ad asks? Who HAS heard of this brand? I haven't a clue, but those two chicks in the background should talk by the odd way they're practicing ballet moves on each other. Maybe the second girl is confused by who is causing the smell. With the first girl's legs open like that, perhaps someone could use a little Pristeen spray.

Rule #58 from the Mad Men Handbook of Office Rules: When you answer the phone, bring coffee, pour a scotch or otherwise wipe the ass of Mr. Boss Man, you want to make sure your smell does not offend him while doing so. 


  1. I've heard of Odo-ro-ono, but I thought the Who made that up for the Sell Out LP. I think example you gave was why we saw the feminine deodorant advertising boom of the 70s. It was probably an out-growth of the sexual revolution. I'll just say that there probably were some guy's or girl's faces where you said during the 70s.

  2. Geez louise, these were rough! I would have been freaked out all the time if I saw those ads. They really knew how to market with fear huh?

  3. Yes, the 1950's was alive with feminine odor warnings, as if your husband might leave you any instant for a less fragrant woman. The advertisers of that day were particularly adept at striking fear into the hearts of young women everywhere.

  4. what I find most disturbing about it is the accompanying photo of the girl who appears to be anything but best women's deodorant


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