It seems that there are quite a few opponents of my preference to bar soap and detest my slandering of body wash. Over the past couple of days, I have scoured the internet and made quite a few phone calls to get down to bottom of this body wash phenomenon and its damage on our society’s male population. I read on the website Advertising Age that body wash sales finally toppled bar soap sales in 2008. The website also cites Old Spice in 2003 as the first predominately male oriented brand to produce body wash in the United States. This seems to all make sense, but I figured there had to more than what this website reported. I made some telephone calls and contacted a man at Proctor and Gamble named Ed Shirley who was there from the beginning of the body wash campaign. He knew the answers to all of my questions.
Shirley admitted the main reason the product researchers came up with this liquid wash was because the CEO of P&G’s son lacked the mental capacity to spin a perfectly good bar of soap between his hands to make suds. He also lacked the coordination to actually rub the bar against his body. He would rub the bar against his body where it would instantly squirt out, landing on the already slippery porcelain tub. His parents were greatly concerned for their son’s safety. After much thought and breaking all preconceived notions of sexuality and gender roles, they allowed their son to use women’s body wash. Inspiration hit Shirley when he realized there were other parents of dimwitted, klutzes out there that would purchase this safety product. Originally, it was only sold on the American Red Cross website but, eventually, made its way to supermarkets.
I also contacted the man in charge of product development for Axe in the United Kingdom, Richard Lipisky. While Axe began mainly as a body spray producer, they quickly jumped into the already over-crowded, bloated body wash market. Lipisky quickly admitted, without much prodding, that Axe body wash was created for Europeans who rarely showered. “We hoped that Europeans, who already look at showering as a novelty, would enjoy this novelty, however ridiculous body wash might be,” Lipisky said with an eye roll. After finding huge success in Europe selling Axe in gag shops, marketers for the company decided to roll the dice in America. Using commercials meant to be nothing short of idiotic, Axe hoped Americans would follow Europeans and use Axe body wash as a gag gift for white elephant Christmases and bachelor parties. Lipisky and his bosses at Axe were pleasantly surprised that American high school boys didn’t quite get the joke and used the ridiculously smelling product for real hygienic purposes.
Whether it is for dimwits or people unaware of the novelty, ultimately, body wash is here to stay. I’ll admit defeat because I know I’m in the minority in this debate, but I will never give in and my children will never play with children who use body wash.
For any reading this thinking of a witty comment to leave because you’re annoyed with my insults, please just stop. Ask yourself, can I take a joke? If the answer is no, then you’re probably reading the wrong blog. There are some great, serious blogs out there about cooking and housekeeping to anarchy and socialism: pick one. If you get the joke, I congratulate you for being a reasonable, normal person.