Saturday, June 03, 2006

Get some Listerine, girl

Old advertisements often fascinate me, perhaps because of the way they spoke so directly and usually unironically to their audience. Take this one for instance, which I found on Flickr. It's for Listerine, made by the Lambert Pharmacal Co. before it became Warner-Lambert in the '50s. It's supposedly from a 1935 copy of Time magazine. It's titled "Often a bridesmaid but never a bride," and opens with a short anecdote about a woman who's as pretty as her peers, but can't get a guy, and "her birthdays [are creeping] gradually toward that tragic thirty-mark." Then there's a pause in the copy, and it launches into: "That's the insidious thing about halitosis (unpleasant breath)." The ad doesn't mention our poor bridesmaid again, but it certainly implies that the men in her life are being turned away one after another because of her bad breath, and if she would just buy some Listerine—"Your druggist ... sells lots of it"—her luck would change. Ads today continue to imply similar such laughable promises—drink light, watery beer or spray on husky scented deodorant, and hot women will be uncontrollably attracted to you—but sometimes it takes looking back at the way they did it years ago to remind ourselves of the absurdity.

And while we're on the topic, check out this cool looking Art Deco Listerine bottle, probably from around that era.

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