In celebration of Mad Men‘s return this Sunday, I’ve assembled a collection of magazine ads for one of the most enduring and memorable products of teen girl-dom, Love’s Baby Soft cologne.
Which, upon its introduction in 1974, had one of the most uncomfortable and disturbing ad campaigns of all time.
Adults dressed like Sexy Babies:
Or maybe it’s babies dressed like sexy adults?
The former concept was the basis for a David Lynchian TV commercial:
By the early 1980s, the Pretty Baby-style campaigns were out, and Love’s tried to get the consumer to associate the product less with pedophilia, and more with wholesome pastimes such as horses:
…Or going to the prom with Scott Baio:
Although, there is this:
Nylon panties = yeast factory, so this is pretty much the least sexy concept I can think of.
By the time the 1990s rolled around, and yours truly was beginning to experiment with Aqua Net and purple eyeshadow, Love’s rolled out its most wholesome campaign yet:
Just smellin’ up your boyfriend’s varsity jacket, nothing to see here, folks.
And what that smell is is hard to pin down exactly. The good reviewers over at basenotes.net offer “cotton candy meets baby powder” and “talcum powder, babies, sweetness, innocence, spring flowers and light-heartedness”.
After a recently ill-advised, nostalgia-fueled purchase (yup, it is still available for purchase, and you can even friend them on Facebook!), I’d have to say that out of the bottle it smells like a combination of baby powder and Play-Doh, which then quickly dissipates into a cloying, nostril-clogging sweetness which will have you running to a public restroom to scrub it off in an attempt to restore yourself to adulthood.
Sometimes the past is best left past.
As a bonus, Love’s Baby Soft also provides us with this 1977 TV spot which is the walking definition of “backlash”:
HARRY! You said you’d take me to the RACES!
Now I am going to have to listen to the Enjoli jingle about ten times to restore my equilibrium.