You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …
Love’s Baby Soft body lotion/body powder
It’s sexy … like a baby!
Let’s, for a moment, just for a moment, give the makers of this ad the absolute maximum benefit of the doubt.
Soft, smooth skin is considered a sexually desirable trait in women. So if you’re selling a line of skin care products targeted at women, playing up that it will make your skin soft, and therefore sexy? Natural enough route to take. I’m with you so far.
Soft, smooth skin is also commonly associated with babies. There’s a whole expression about it: “Smooth as a baby’s bottom.” So if you’re selling a line of skin care products, saying that it will make your skin like a baby’s … all right, on its own, that’s innocuous enough.
And deciding to mix both those pitches together in the same ad … You know what? Maybe, just maybe, I could see someone doing that without thinking through the implications. That a person could be so naively innocent, that’s possible.
Except this ad wasn’t made by a person. This ain’t some two-bit local commercial where the business owner does everything themselves. Love Cosmetics was a major brand, spending millions of dollars a year on advertising. Multiple people had to look over the script for this ad before it went into production. An actor had to be hired to read the lines, and a sound technician to record them. And there’d be someone else who’d have to give the ad final approval.
And either none of these people thought to point out how deeply disturbing this ad was … or someone did, and the people in charge ignored their objections. Neither scenario is a good look.
Like, I’m not sure if it’s infantilizing women or sexualizing infants, but … no! Oh, dear God, no.