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How Advertisers Convinced Americans They Smelled Bad

submitted on August 8, 2012 by YanBz in "Products / Gadgets"
It appears sweat under arms has not always perceived as something to be avoided. This article claims that the the modern attitude is a product of marketing behind deodorants.

In the 1910s deodorants and antiperspirants were relatively new inventions. The first deodorant, which kills odor-producing bacteria, was called Mum and had been trademarked in 1888, while the first antiperspirant, which thwarts both sweat-production and bacterial growth, was called Everdry and launched in 1903.

But many people—if they had even heard of the anti-sweat toiletries—thought they were unnecessary, unhealthy or both.

“This was still very much a Victorian society,” explains Juliann Silvulka, a 20th-century historian of American advertising at Waseda Univesity in Tokyo, Japan. “Nobody talked about perspiration, or any other bodily functions in public.”

Instead, most people’s solution to body odor was to wash regularly and then to overwhelm any emerging stink with perfume. Those concerned about sweat percolating through clothing wore dress shields, cotton or rubber pads placed in armpit areas which protected fabric from the floods of perspiration on a hot day.

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  • 157822
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    12 11 2
    Posted by clover on August 8, 2012
    [reply] 1 0
    All I can say is 4th & 5th Graders that don't use deodorant is pretty "Rank." Eeek I am a proponent of Deodorant!
  • 157887
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    Posted by DebsFreebies on August 9, 2012
    [reply] 1 0
    I worked with a guy that actually used Lysol spray in lieu of deodorant!
  • 157899
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    Posted by 2kidsnuts on August 9, 2012
    [reply] 1 0
    What is it with 5th graders? I fight with my daughter on a daily basis to put deoderant on!!!

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