Monday, September 19, 2011

Love's Baby Soft

It is not possible to express how desperately I coveted a bottle of Love's Baby Soft cologne when I was ten years old. My want was fueled by the brilliant ad campaign that managed to successfully (and I daresay inappropriately) target girls ages 8 to 18. We were bombarded by Love's Baby Soft at every turn.

Today's market is inundated with tweenie products and we parents indulge the whiny cries to purchase bottle after bottle of Very Berry Sparkle Fruit Body Spray way too often. Back in the day, it was different. Love's Body Soft was THE product and obtaining a bottle of it was a major coup. I cherished mine.

There were of course the Other Girls who had oodles of Love's Baby Soft products: the body mist, the cologne, the lotion. For them, Christmas morning meant the prized gift set, complete with a darling little plush toy or sparkling pendant. I wasn't one of the Other Girls. I had one bottle of Love's. And although I had the "I'm Baby Soft" shirt, mine was frayed and dingy. I knew I'd never dance with prince charming and a white ribbon tide 'round my neck.

Still, I had my bottle of Love's Baby Soft.

The cologne was the olfactory equivalent of Dreft laundry detergent, albeit a bit more mellow. It smelled like, well, baby. Obviously that was the point, but I didn't like it. Hence while owning Love's Baby Soft was the object of my deepest desire, actually using it was a different story. My ten-year-old self found this profoundly unsettling.

Nonetheless, I would occasionally step into my room, remove the cap from the phallic-shaped bottle and sniff the contents by way of reassurance: Yes, you own a bottle of Love's Baby Soft. Yes, it smells like this. No, you don't have to use it. I would recap the bottle and furiously polish its glass against my crumpled tee shirt until it gleamed like new before setting it back upon my dresser.

The Love's Baby Soft jingle was a simple lilt: Love's BAY-bee Soft!

Love's Baby Soft has been reincarnated by any number of enterprising entities, including the dubiously named Pink line by Victoria's secret.

This is my daughter's Twinkled Pink soft & dreamy Shimmering Rollerball.

Although she hasn't touched it in eons (it smells a bit like cotton candy), it sits upon a small glass shelf in the bathroom we share because (as I have just realized while penning this post) it reminds me of the bottle of Love's Baby Soft I owned as a tween.

Behold, dear readership, the power of Love's Baby Soft, which spans nearly four decades despite its abject failure as a cologne--at least in my world.

I have a sudden urge to procure a tube of neon blue mascara.

Thanks to **twinkly sparkles** for inspiring this post.

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Cleveland Bob said...

That IS indeed a creepy ad. I guess I kinda remember it and the product but it may have been during my pre-pubescent "girls are icky" phase.

Regardless, from a feminist angle, the commercial has a lot not to like about it.

Glad to hear that you're over your fixation with this product, EOB.

Erin said...

Love the blog! I remember having a bottle of Love's lemon-scented cologne (forgot the name). I'd never dare wear it out, but a few airborne spritzes worked like a charm when Mom wanted me to dust my room and I didn't feel like it. Godawful stuff, but it really was a victory to own it.

DogsDontPurr said...

For me, it was Jean Nate body splash. I was sooo in love with that stuff...because of the commercials, no doubt. And what a marketing concept: splash this liquid all over your body after your bath. The perfect way to use gallons and gallons of product!I wonder what that stuff smells like now.

Erin O'Brien said...

Hola Bob. Welcome Erin.

DDP: I bought my mom a bottle of Jean Nate every year for Christmas. She acted like it was liquid gold--god bless her.

Back then I loved the stuff too.

A few years ago, I talked my kid into buying gram a bottle of Jean Nate for xmas. It smells exactly the same. Not bad for a cheapo splash. How funny ...

glittergirl said...

thank you for this post. you described something from my childhood that i'd totally forgotten about!

i wanted the perfume, badly. i got a small bottle. i coveted it. but i also did not like the actual smell!

i think i finally gave up my bottle when i went off to college. then it was all essential oils. "rain" scent was a favorite.

do you wear perfume now? i've recently began to wonder if adult ladies in my age group still wear it, and if so, what kind.

Nin Andrews said...

Great post! But . . .

Oh wow, I've never been happy when perfumed. As a farm girl, sometimes I'd climb into the car, fresh out of the barn and smell horrible. Mom would give me a little squirt to cover up that cow pie smell. Now, let me tell you. Smelling like a cow pie is bad. Smelling like Love's Baby Soft Cow Pie is beyond words.

twinkly sparkles said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Erin. I am glad to have been part of your inspiration for the day.

I think the lemon stuff was called Love's Lemon Fresh. Am I wrong? That's the one I loved. I don't think I was ever an owner of either of them. I can recall the smell of Love's Baby Soft. I don't remember the ad. I do remember the ad for Jean Nate which was very sexy (in my mind) and more age-appropriate to its target demographic, meaning it wasn't treating pre-teens as sex objects.

Do you know that there was a lemon-flavored cigarette back then? Twist or some such it was called....I sure wish I had smoked when they were around. Probably as disgusting as menthol.

I love any and all things citrus.

The last time I wore perfume was about 8 years ago. I got hooked on one called "Antonia's Flowers" which was made somewhere in New England. Mostly freesia. I can't tolerate any perfume any more...headaches.

Ciao, bella! You never needed Love's Baby Fresh and I think you know that now.

Craig Hughes said...

Ahh, I remember my sister and Eau De Love (Donavan's "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" and Ali McGraw) fixation well. Madison Avenue won't change and neither will America, at least in this context. - Craig

Leslie Morgan said...

Love's Baby Soft did for me then what Lancome Miracle does for me today. And like Erin, I had the lemon version, as well. Unlike many people, I enjoy smelling like the really good goods. I don't wear it so strong it makes animals run, but I wear enough to make it count. Simply, it makes me feel more like a female. OK, I'm rarely mistaken for an actual man, but good fragrance makes me feel like Wonder Woman.

Erin O'Brien said...

GG, Nin and Twink: I wear perfume very very infrequently now. The Goat bought me a bottle of Calvin Klein's Euphoria a while back. I used to love Obsession and Jil Sander as well.

Patchouli oil? Yup, got that.

Craig, now you've got me thinking about that "heaven" song by Donovan. yikes!

Leslie: Makes you feel like Wonder Woman? I thought you were Wonder Woman!

Leslie Morgan said...

Ha! Wonder Woman. No, alas, I'm just a small brown bird with a big imagination and a pure heart who can really land on the world's lovelier scents. I juggle about 5 different ones, and on those days, I am a brightly feathered bird with a beautiful song.

Anonymous said...

And then there were the little conservative girls, who also didn't have oodles of money for such things, but would babysit or find SOME way to EARN the money for the coveted tweenie product -- rather than sitting around pouting and bitching and pointing out what OTHER girls had and she didn't.

Erin O'Brien said...

Thanks for dropping in and commenting, anon. You've spoken for yourself beautifully.

Anonymous said...

BTW, speaking of pests like your previous caller, Avon's Skin So Soft is a terrific insect repellent

Erin O'Brien said...

Mike, please don't pick on our conservative commenters. They are so few and far between.

And after all, anon and I have something in common--assuming she's referring to herself. She talks about earning money as a kid through babysitting, which is exactly how I procured my tweenie products.

Oh yeah, I had to mow the lawn too. And yes, that is your humble hostess featured in the associated photograph.

sarahm59 said...

it was patchouli for me and this hippie liberal 8th grader worked about 40 hours a week during the summer to afford it. my first job not baby sitting or delivering papers was eddies boat dock concession stand and later, lakewood park, both the summer before high school and continuing for several years. this still liberal 52 year old now works about 50 hours a week while battling a debilitating auto immune disease. thanks for playing anon.

Anonymous said...

Skin so soft really is a very effective bug repellent.
wv: redleg. It just seemed to fit.

Anonymous said...

How many 10-year-olds, male or female, self-identify as conservative or liberal?
wv: pulatio? Latin for a handy?

msprimadonna67 said...

I was completely transported to my 7th grade year. I was also not The Other Girls, but I had my one bottle of Love's Baby Soft to make me feel like one day I might be.