Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I remember, back when I was a kid in the 40s, how the advertisers of the time were tirelessly educating the public as to the horrible new social scourge that was Body Odor (and the advertisers had just the chemicals to hide the terrible affliction), then by the 50s they had body odor locked and needed a new blight, so they crammed the public ear and eye with the suddenly embarrassing condition of dandruff (and they had just the stuff to conceal the problem), then came frizzy hair and they had just the stuff etc., the public accepting all those received embarrassments one after another as though they were genuine afflictions and always had been, needed "fixing" right away, and weren't merely created by advertisers.

And that's the way it's been ever since, with by now so many other natural processes transformed into devastating personal plagues that the social remedy section of the supermarket/pharmacy is a mile long, but the advertisers are running out of shticks (living room odor??), so something had to give, and it's always the consumer.

These social lab experiments often happen first here in Japan, where the media audience is an advertiser’s dream: you repeat the repetitive jingle often and monotonously enough and you've got a loyal market, even for stuff like chewing gum that "enlarges breasts." They've pretty much used up the scourges of youth, though (pimples, dull hair, skin etc., largely caused by the junk food they also flog), and they need a new source of scourges.

So they've locked onto boomers now, and the aging society, and brought ageism into the equation as a source of new social afflictions, starting with the looming horror they've named kareishu (aging odor), for which they're flogging "over 40 soap" at over 20 dollars a cake, for the magic bubbles that will remove that nasty miasma of over-40ness that floats about you wherever you go. There's also a chewing gum that makes you smell like you're under 40! (I. e., a mobile vat of variously toxic deodorizing chemicals).

Anyway, I've been over 40 for nearly 27 years now, and smell as sweet as a baby, except after I've been splitting firewood for a few hours, when I smell like Achilles. As far as I'm concerned, those marketeers can stuff the fragrance of age. But then I'm not and never have been your typical consumer, who not only won't object to this ageist travesty, they will dutifully buy the brand new discovery that gets rid of their brand new problem and protects them from the curse of aging just like in the commercial.

Watch soon for over 50, 60, 70 soap, shampoo, conditioner, with zeolite, titanium, magic crystals, metaquantumnanoplasmaultra whatever, it's a list longer than a lifetime.

If consumers and voters are the same people, no wonder the world is a mess.


Mary Lou said...

So what do over 40's smell like? SNIFF SNIFF I dont smell!! DO I?

Bob Brady said...

No, Mary Lou; like me (in idle moments) and all people who think for themselves, you smell just like a freshly bathed baby.

Jon said...

And don't forget to get your frequent doses of "minus ions" - or as we used to call it, 'fresh air'.