How Advertisers Convinced Americans They Smelled Bad
Yet 100 years later, the deodorant and antiperspirant industry is worth $18 billion. The transformation from niche invention to a blockbuster product was in part kick-started by Murphey, whose nascent business was nearly a failure.
According to Odorono company files at Duke University, Edna Murphey’s Odorono booth at the 1912 Atlantic City exposition initially appeared to be another bust for the product.
“The exhibition demonstrator could not sell any Odorono at first and wired back [to Murphey to send some] cold cream to cover expenses,” notes a company history of Odorono.
Luckily, the exposition lasted all summer. As attendees wilted in the heat and sweat through their clothing, interest in Odorono rose. Suddenly Murphey had customers across the country and $30,000 in sales to spend on promotion.
And in reality, Odorono needed some serious help in the marketing department.
Although the product stopped sweat for up to three days—longer-lasting than modern day antiperspirants—the Odorono’s active ingredient, aluminum chloride, had to be suspended in acid to remain effective. (This was the case for all early antiperspirants; it would take a few decades before chemists came up with a formulation that didn’t require an acid suspension.)
The acid solution meant Odorono could irritate sensitive armpit skin and damage clothing. Adding insult to injury, the antiperspirant was also red-colored, so it could also stain clothing—if the acid didn’t eat right through it first. According to company records, customers complained that the product caused burning and inflammation in armpits and that it ruined many a fancy outfit, including one woman’s wedding dress.
They still use an aluminum chloride to stop perspiration. The formulation is better in that it generally does not burn – though it can cause rashes on some users, and it generally does not stain clothing. It took advertising to convince people who perspiration, a topic that was taboo to talk about at the time, was something to talk about and passed judgment on.
His advertisement in a 1919 edition of the Ladies Home Journal didn’t beat around the bush. “Within the Curve of a Woman’s arm. A frank discussion of a subject too often avoided,” announced the headline above an image of an imminently romantic situation between a man and a woman.
James Rosenquist, World’s Fair Mural, 1964, oil on masonite.
Roy Lichtenstein, World’s Fair Mural, 1964, oil on plywood.
Quantum Teleportation Achieved over Record Distances, which is interesting, though banish any thoughts of Scotty beaming you down or anywhere else for that matter. The physics on which the experiment was based struck me in terms of the metaphysics or philosophical implications, or just as the foundation for day dreams:
Quantum teleportation relies on the phenomenon of entanglement, through which quantum particles share a fragile, invisible link across space. Two entangled photons, for instance, can have correlated, opposite polarization states—if one photon is vertically polarized, for instance, the other must be horizontally polarized. But, thanks to the intricacies of quantum mechanics, each photon’s specific polarization remains undecided until one of them is measured. At that instant the other photon’s polarization snaps into its opposing orientation, even if many kilometers have come between the entangled pair.
Anyone remember I Heart Huckabees (2004) and the existential detectives played by Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman claim that everything in the universe is connected.
Paul Ryan (R-WI) is yet another conservative libertarian who thinks the government owns your body, especially if you’re female,
For anyone who wants to know how Ryan thinks, that essay is worth reading. It’s about 1,500 words long, but the word “woman” doesn’t appear in it once. Nor does the word “mother.” To him, a woman’s claim to bodily autonomy or self-determination doesn’t merit even cursory consideration. Here’s his analogy: “The car which I exercised my freedom of choice to purchase…does not ‘qualify’ for protection of human rights. I can drive it, lend it, kick it, sell it, or junk it, at will. On the other hand, the widow who lives next door does ‘qualify’ as a person, and the government must secure her human rights, which cannot be abandoned to anyone’s arbitrary will.”
Ryan said he has never specifically advocated jailing women who have abortions, but according to a newspaper article, he said, “If it’s illegal, it’s illegal.”
This disregard for the exigencies of women’s lives—the dismissal of their choices as amoral exercises of “arbitrary will”—was thrown into high relief during his 1998 run for congress against Democrat Lydia Spottswood. Both candidates backed a ban on so-called partial-birth abortion, but Spottswood believed there should be exceptions in cases where a woman’s life or health is endangered. “Ryan said he opposes abortion, period,” reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He said any exceptions to a ‘partial-birth’ abortion ban would make that ban meaningless.”
During that campaign, Ryan also expressed his willingness to let states criminally prosecute women who have abortions. According to another Journal Sentinel article, he “would let states decide what criminal penalties would be attached to abortions. Ryan said he has never specifically advocated jailing women who have abortions or doctors who perform them, but added, ‘If it’s illegal, it’s illegal.’”
The implications for such radical views on how much government – with police, prosecutors and the prison industry – should entangle itself in one’s autonomy over one’s own body are profound. Even in countries where abortion is illegal women still seek abortions or perform them on themselves. In the U.S. that would mean massive expansion of the police, courts and prison system – currently incarceration costs about $20k per year. There would also be costs to society in forcing women to carry their pregnancies to term and the cost of any medical complications, plus the costs of any long term disability caused by the forced birth. Perhaps this is one way Ryan plans to create jobs. Subjecting 160 million women ( minorities, the elderly and students) to modern Jim Crow-Lite laws requires a lot of storm troopers.
What Happened to the Lunch Break?
Skipped lunch breaks are a growing trend, said Danielle Hartmann, the director for corporate partnerships at Boston College’s Center for Work & Family.
“I think the expectation is that more people are expected to work more with less,” Hartmann told LiveScience. “Workloads have been exceptionally high and people don’t feel like they can take the time to eat.”
Conservatives and libertarians are partly responsible for this attitude. Unless you own the company you are one of the little serfs living off the great ideas, industrial spirit and generosity of the real producers in the top 10%. It is part of a movement whose philosophy makes no to little room for humility and acknowledgement of the disposable little people. The economic meltdown has only made the mild to extreme exploitation of workers all that much easier – don’t get uppity because there are a hundred applicants waiting to take your place and know their’s. Good times.
John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman-My One and Only Love