Because innocence is sexier than you think….
This advertising tagline for Love’s Baby Soft epitomizes the freewheeling ‘70s – an era when sexiness wasn’t thought to be outrageous or dangerous, extreme or blatant (or have evil consequences).
Love’s Baby Soft was a gentle scent – sweet and floral, a bit of baby powder, and a slight whiff of strawberry. Its pale pink and white canister called out to young girls, something that wasn’t your Mum’s choice, but wasn’t too childish. It could be proudly displayed on your bedroom dresser beside your jewellery tree. I have vague memories of my Mum buying me the fragrance, allowing me to spritz it on for a special occasions. Thankfully my Mum helped me apply; insuring I didn’t douse myself to flammable proportions with the spray and becoming a walking advertisement on how not apply perfume.
Introduced in 1974 by Mem Corporation, it was one of the first fragrances marketed to the teen girl. Girls started stocking their bathrooms with the mist, the powder and the lotion, learning the power of layering scent, creating a cloud of sweetness which hopefully dissipated on the way from home to school.
I started looking for images of Love’s and was surprised to find it was still in production, with a 21st century logo and packaging. Currently Sugar Kiss and Berry Sweet are the top sellers, available in body wash, body mist and body spray. The label was cute and happy, for the teen who wanted a blast of energy just for her.
The original was shrouded in a murky cloud of naïveté. With its come hither advertising, Love’s Baby Soft focused on the innocence of young teens about to experience their first taste of life without the supervision of Mum and Dad. Epitomized by Brooke Shields in movies like Pretty Baby and Blue Lagoon, this brand of sexy would be soon shunned as pornographic and disgusting, pandering to pedophiles. But for the 1970s, it was revealing the change that happens to girls, that curious time when you’re balancing your love for your Holly Hobbie on your bed with your interest in the boy sitting two desks over.
For the 1970s, it was a revelation to market based on the change that happens to girls, that curious time when you’re balancing your love for your Holly Hobbie on your bed with your interest in the boy sitting two desks over. Although these ads would never be seen in magazines in 2009, it’s a reminder of the society’s assumption of the innocence and temptation that was apparently embodied in a young girl of the 1970s.