Monday, September 1, 2008

For Better Or Worse Breath

Windsor Daily Star 1952 Colgate Dental Cream

There are so many strange things going on here - just in one little Colgate ad. Bizarre marital strife, an editorializing baby, a threatening dentist. This is the ad that has it all - in cartoon form, too.

Let's see what's going on here.

1. Here is a couple who obviously do not get along. He looks defensive, she's pretty mad. And their mouths are open so it must be noisy in there. Which is why the very large baby is saying "They can't pin this on me!" Oh, ha ha ha, as in diaper pins. (There's two people, incidentally, that if I was that baby, I would not be letting near the diaper pins).

The implication is that they have a history of attributing disputes to the kid. Ugh, that's no good. Cut that out right now, you two!

2. The guy wants his wife to "come out in the open" so he can "defend himself" - are they going to mix it up outside? Well, she comes out with the bad breath thing all right. And the baby says "Atta girl!" Did either of them hear that? The kid's been knocked out by the miasma around daddy too, I guess. Still, the atta girl comment does seem kind of rude. I mean, babies produce a few odors themselves, so look who's talking.

3. Now I'm starting to feel sorry for the guy, the dentist is yelling at him with a sharp pointy dental implement pointing right at him. I'm not sure he's taking it in, the guy looks kind of blank. You do feel a bit done in after the dentist, it's true. It's exhausting to sit in the chair tilting back and trying to grunt answers to complex chitchat questions with a mouthful of this-that-and-the-other.

4. Speaking of which: now the guy is using Colgate and is so thrilled about its "grand wake-up taste" and polishing properties, that he is talking (a) to the mirror, (b) through a mouthful of toothbrush and "Dental Cream" (yuck) and (c) while listing to one side like a leaky ship. That's some toothpaste, all right.

5. You guessed it: domestic Nirvana. That baby dispenses some qualified praise: life is "far more pleasant" when people actually brush their teeth (ain't it the truth!). Now that that's straightened out, we can get back to other pleasant things. Like changing diapers.

Ad from the Windsor Daily Star (Windsor, Ontario), June 1952.

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