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Saturday, June 25, 2011

How Times Have Changed? - Or Not?

Having decided to do a series of posts on Vintage Ads, my thinking in advance was that some people might find them amusing, shocking, strange, even sad in a way.  Things do change, and society moves on, and sometimes like bad fashion, we can look back and say - No way! - Who could have worn that? - What fools were they?

However, things don't always change, at least not always for the better.  Sometimes when something bad takes hold, it stays around for a long time, which brings me to today's Vintage Ad, and one that rightly gets my heckles up!



This advertisement dates back to the 1970's, and for anyone who finds the caption at the end difficult to read, it says - Love's Baby Soft is that irresistible clean baby smell, grown up enough to be sexy - and, not to leave the killer tag line at the top out - Because innocence is sexier than you think.

Yes, this is shocking, and yes you feel like saying - What? How? Never! Surely not? And it is both sad and awful that this form of advertising was ever used, but perhaps what might be more disturbing, is when you ask yourself the question - how are we handling this topic today?

I guess, we only have to look at how fashion, particularly fashion for girls has changed.  There is undoubtedly a shift towards more adult dress, not just in pre-teen, but amongst really young children. In part I suppose, you could put this down to the current celebrity obsession, although this type of obsession goes back a long way, you only have to think about the old Hollywood stars to get the picture.  However, nowadays children are exposed to media and advertising on an ongoing basis, whether through television, magazines, Internet, the list of mediums is endless, and more importantly, constant.

This particular vintage advertisement is shocking, but has the thinking behind it really changed?  There is no doubt that this advertisement would not fly today, nevertheless, has the content and context of it really moved on, or is the message behind it, just become more sophisticated and subtle?

Here's an advertisement from today- I leave the answer to the above question to yourselves!


And here's an article from MailOnline which shocked me!



"10-year-old Vogue model's mother shuts down Facebook fan site in response to outrage over daughter's career!"

 

21 comments:

  1. yuk! ....to both. I remember trying to explain why barbiea were a no-no in my house - the woman I was talking to just couldn't get it then. twenty years on, she gwts it.

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  2. The vintage one reminds me of the shot of Britney with the teddy bears. The creepy thing about the ad you posted is that initially its hard to know if the model is a child made-up like a woman or a woman made up like a child...its horrible, I find the modern one less unsettling for some reason.

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  3. Wow. Both depress me utterly :( The second one is definitely subtle, but still so not good. My poor daughters...

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  4. The vintage ad is creepy to say the least. I'm not really sure where things went awry, but kids are certainly exposed to things in the media now that they never would have seen 30 years ago. The peer pressure is much worse these days as well. The so-called roll models these young girls are trying to emulate are rather scary. Reality TV continues to glorify sex and partying and prancing around half dressed. It's frightening to see what the young girls today are NOT wearing! Perhaps my 67 year-old father-in-law summed it up best. While recently attending my niece's high school graduation party, one of the teen-aged attendees walked past us in a pair of short (understatement) shorts and a tight-fitting tank top that exposed her midriff, which displayed her pierced navel. My father-in-law leaned in and quietly said to me, "Look at the clothes she's ALMOST wearing!"

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  5. Confusion is the big enemy - and confusion is what both adverts are propagating.

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  6. I think the reason the previous poster found the modern ad less unsettling is for the exact reason you said, Louise - the message hasn't changed, it's just become more sophisticated and subtle. No, nobody today would get away with running an ad like the 70s one you showed, but that doesn't mean that they're not subliminally peddling the same stuff they always were. And, of course, it's not always subliminal. One only has to look at the likes of Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus to see that.

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  7. It still comes down to how parents have not taught their children how to be children, and proud of it!

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  8. ...is that second ad telling children to be skinny? advertising is something my head has never quite bent around, i never know when to be offended or not. make a shape? ...a skinny shape? oh i don't know. the first one is hiiiiideous though. people are always going to use sex to sell things, that's a given, but i suppose the issue is the construction of sexuality that they proliferate by doing so. (man i miss being in a cultural studies degree i am ruuuusty)

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  9. wow, this is powerful and a great look back on the times and how some things surely have changed, and for the better in some ways. sigh...then again, i'm sure in 50 years people could look back on our stuff and say some of the same things.

    great post!!!
    live=e

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  10. Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts,most of which I would agree with - I think when time passes, we will look on some of the advertisements of today, and think OMG - What? How? Never! Surely Not?

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  11. That first add has unsettled me beyond words, the second one not so much...I must be conditioned to see it as the norm...eeehh!!

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  12. I see red every time I find bras for sale in the toddler's sections of clothing stores. Toddlers! On a lighter note, this has reminded me of something funny. My six year old daughter looks nothing like me - she's half Egyptian with sallow skin, black curly hair and brown eyes. I have red hair, freckles,and pink skin as she calls it. We were walking on the beach one day and my daughter got chatting to a woman who turned to me and said, "She's gorgeous! She's not your's is she?" Ho-hum. It's as well I love the daughter.

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  13. joanbpower@gmail.comJune 25, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    It's always just about money. Society has always made money from kids. They used to run 'em up chimneys as little Sweeps. Then they discovered the concept of Childhood and now they're used to sell everything from teddybears to sex because doting parents will buy them anything they want regardless of exploitation or nasty subliminal messaging. And, as far as the Moneymen are concerned, the more controversy, the better. I'm so glad I'd no daughters and now my sons are nearly as old as me... Great blog, Louise.

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  14. Very much agree with Jinksy - children should be allowed to be children. That said the peer pressure and the understood need of children to 'fit in' must be enormous.

    Business through advertising manipulates this need very well and children are the worse for it. The drive to sexualise young girls - I find sickening, but often (or so it seems) parents take the first step in purchasing before their daughters are old enough to select their own clothing.

    Didn't realise it had been going on for so many years until I read your post.

    Anna :o]

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  15. Again Michelle, Caren, Joan & HyperCRYPTICal, thanks for your comments and your feedback so true.

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  16. As a kid, I doused myself in "Love's Babysoft", Love's Fresh Lemon and another one, I can't recall. Of course, we thought nothing of the ad campaign at the time and that may also have much to do with the fact the pedophilia was either not as much of a concern in the 70s, or it was not as visible. The advent of super-technologies that enable child pornography to thrive, was not available and such reprehensible behaviour was under wraps.
    I'm not sure the marketers of the cologne at the time were intending for it to be viewed in the way we now see it. I think, the idea was that women could look sweet, and innocent rather than hard, or overpowering. Maybe I'm wrong.
    I still love the fragrance though.

    Nice to see your face in the sidebar, Louise! Why were you hiding that beauty for so long?

    Kat

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  17. Ah Kat, you have me blushing! And love your new hairstyle - now do I have you blushing back?

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  18. Smiling. It's my 50th Birthday radical change. New glasses are on the agenda next.

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  19. You are right cynthia, sometimes one word just sums it up!

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  20. As previous readers have said I didn't know if the first one was a child or a woman. But to be honest the smelling like a baby mixed with sexual innuendo disturbed me more. Things have never changed, that was the 70's by the 80's they had mini pops dressed up and made up to look like little women. Coming into 90's all the young girl dancers dressed and made up in the same manner. I'm not sure how long American pagents have been going for but they bother me the most. Mums spending ridiculous amounts of money parading their tots round like little women in sexy outfits, adult hairstyles and make up. The latest poster obviously isn't as disturbing as she looks like a child but subliminally they are saying she should be like her older peers. Slim, shapely etc. I don't thinks have changed at all kids and sex r still used to promote many things. We can all say it's not blatant or the same but it's just dressed in different wrapping. Society just chides to ignore it in general. Who says to their 10th old you can't have skinny jeans or don't wear make up when there selling it aimed at children as young as 4/5/6 yrs old. So I think the responsibility falls on us as long as we buy or turn a blind eye to these issues we are no further on now than the 70's poster. It's a very sad society.

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