Monday, January 19, 2009

The Old and the Odorous

More fun with Lifebuoy in this week's anti-feminist ad. Not that Lifebuoy can't insult men, too - as we saw over here in Lifebuoy Meets World.

This week's delightful soap opera manages to insult women over the age of 40, unmarried women, and of course women who use soaps that are not named Lifebuoy. So much for being a Woodbury Deb - you'll never catch yourself a man that way!

Buoy oh buoy, what a story this is. It starts out with a stellar cast of characters. I love that "still good-looking at 40" business - like that's a big surprise. But it isn't only her heart that's big - and that's why all those "admirers" drift away in the end. Actually, they aren't drifting so much as asphyxiating, apparently. And doesn't Jerry look like a prize.

This is all being narrated by loyal friend Alice, the little head down at the bottom of this totem pole of perdition. That's some friend Alice is - she can't wait to tell the Nameless Friend that - well, she stinks.

Tricky Alice decides to use the subtle ploy of telling about someone else who solved their stink problem through using Lifebuoy soap. You see, it's really her niece who can't get anyone to dance with her.

"But she found out her trouble...'B.O.'" Just stress one tiny word, and you can totally mortify and insult all your friends. Wearing a gas mask would also work. And why does the Friend say she has heard so much about Lifebuoy? That's why she isn't upset - all her friends have nieces with B.O., strangely enough.

Oh Alice, your hidden agenda is showing! Nameless Friend rushes off right then and there to take a bath. I think Alice was packing a few bars of soap in her pocketbook.

She scrubs, she scores! At long last: marriage to that Jerry, the geriatric Ashley Wilkes. He's aged about 20 years in three panels. Mission accomplished!

At least the Friend was using the right toothpaste, unlike poor Auntie So-and-So, over here.

This 1934 ad is from Duke University's Ad Access collection. Thanks, Duke University, you're better than a whole boatload of Lifebuoy!


Bill said...

I'm glad I'm not busy here at work today, because this enthralling drama brought tears to my eyes. The yearning, the pathos, the B.O.

Did anyone pick up on the clue in the towel-clutching panel? Nameless Friend has been bathing with toilet soap! Her life is sure to be sunnier now that she's switched to bath soap.

I have a friend who went to an outdoor event, and complained the next day that her hands still smelled like the harsh deodorant soap in the porta-john's sink. I asked her to describe the sink, and had to tell her sadly that it wasn't a sink at all.

Kirsten said...

What a sweet story Lifebouy soap has spun! It's such a shame that they went out of business! :)

Condo Blues said...

If only today's soap advterising told us the truth like Lifeboy,"If you stink like B.O. nobody will be your friend and you'll die a spinster." Thanks Lifeboy for telling me the truth!

Lidian said...

Bill - That is an equally enthralling story that you shared. I am - well, speechless, really...I think that any soap with the adjective "toilet" in front of it is suspect. Why not called it "toilette" soap? That's a little bit better. Maybe.

Kirsten - I wonder why they went out of business, lol...

Condo Blues - They talked tough in those days, all right.

Melanie said...

How do floating heads even devolop BO in the first place? Do their ears sweat?

Blue Castle said...

Oh this is just hilarious. :) I'll have to share this with all my single friends.

Frogs in my formula said...

Oh wow. Lifebuoy sure dropped some money hiring creative writers for their marketing pieces. Surely these writers moved on to auspicious careers on the Young and Restless, etc.! The drama! The intrigue. The ridiculousness!!

mincognita said...

Seriously, if a woman has to be TOLD that she has B.O., well than I guess she has bigger problems than being single at 40.

Lidian said...

Melanie - I just can't imagine! There sure are a lot of floating heads in these ads though...

Blue Castle - Oh yes, you absolutely must! :)

Frogs in my Formula - They loved this sort of soap opera ad in the 30s and 40s, which is so much fun for us now!

mincognita - You got that right!

Jo said...

I am SO glad I found this post. I was wondering what the heck was wrong, having just turned 40 (though I'm still attractive, with skin radiant as a girl's, if by "radiant" you mean "prone to acne"), and watching my suitors slowly drifting away.

Who'd'a thunk it'd be B.O? Luckily, Vermont Country Store still carries Lifebuoy, with its fresh carbolic scent! I'll get those suitors back by anesthetizing them with that smell--just you watch.