I remember getting into an argument with a marketing professor years ago about what things can be branded. A commodity, he asserted, cannot be branded.
Tell that to the deodorant companies.
I had the pleasure recently of shopping for a (what…flask? cartridge? Plastic Thingy?) of my favorite deodorant.
Now I’m sure this little confession is a bit startling, but I admit to using this same brand and scent of deodorant for years. Tragically, and much to my chagrin, I’ve discovered that, these days, deodorants are pretty much like jobs. They become obsolete.
So I stood in front of a display of 1763 deodorant choices, contemplating which should be the replacement for my Arrid Extra Dry 24 Hour Invisible Solid with the Powder Scent in the 2.6 oz. size that has always lasted me 1.6 years (I don’t sweat, er, perspire, or rather, make that “glisten” much).
During the past 1.6 years, the deodorant industry must have experienced a revolution. Or maybe the change has been there for a while, but I haven’t noticed it before (having always been able to happily snatch my Arrid Extra Dry, in the Powder Scent off the shelf without contemplating the state of the underarm industry).
It came to me as somewhat of a surprise that the purveyors of deodorant feel obligated to sell sex appeal along with their deodorant. Goodness, where have I been?
Now, instead of “Powder,” my underarms can smell like Cherry Mischief, Coconut Crush, or Va Va Va Voom Vanilla. I rule those out. We’re talking deodorant here, not milk shakes.
I also rule out Wild Freesia, Oars & Alps, Caribbean Cool and anything else that sounds like my underarms will have more fun than I do.
When my eyes hit the men’s row, I discover the names that apparently appeal to men all have phallic symbolism…Alpine Force, Cool Peak, Pacific Surge, or Urge,
They’ve even come out with line extensions of deodorants targeted at Teens. What self-respecting teenage girl wouldn’t want to apply a deodorant with the name of Selfie Stick, Pool Party, or Pink Crush to her underarm. especially since that last is described as “cute and girlie?” What I’d really like to know is: Since when has cute become a descriptor for an underarm? Or a deodorant, for that matter?
The whole shopping adventure starts me wondering if deodorants that don’t have exotic names even work. Maybe some of them won’t work for me, because I’m not their target audience! After all, the description for Pink Crush says, “The harder you play, the harder it works!” It’s been a while since I’ve played really hard…maybe the first grade playground…so, a few decades ago, give or take.
After pacing the length of the aisle at least fourteen times, I leave the store empty-handed with a dazed look on my face.
It’s a good thing deodorant companies don’t have a truth-in-selling policy, or those deodorants targeted at women “d’un certain âge” (like yours truly) would be sporting names like “Hot Mama in More Ways than One,” “Don’t Be Deceived, I’m 32 at Heart.” or “Granny to the Stars.”