Put the Blame On Jane

Poor Jane. Look at her, she’s so worried about why Bob can’t seem to get ahead at the office:

“Tell me, Grace, your husband works in the same office as Bob – what is the matter?…he just doesn’t seem to fit in.”

Grace puts on her little Green Elf Thinking Cap and tells her why. It’s all over the office – and she doesn’t mean gossip. “B.O. is something no one will excuse.” Well, except Jane. But how could she not have noticed that Bob stinks worse than Plan 9 From Outer Space? Because she buys crummy soap, that’s why. This interferes with her olfactory sense. Guilty as charged!

So, cue the usual comic strip Lifebuoy ad: (a) wife stocks bathroom with Lifebuoy, (b) guy in shower, looking happy, (c) guy gets “fine promotion” and (d) everything’s peachy – plus she ends up using it too, so they can be hygienic together. Very romantic.

However! Here comes the dark subtext, and it packs a punch: Are Wives To Blame?

Hint: The answer is Yes.

Because Bob actually says that he used to use Lifebuoy before they were married! And Jane thinks: yep, all my fault! I am the one to blame. So this is really a rhetorical question. Of course they think Wives Are To Blame.

Why Doesn’t He Get Ahead? It’s not the three-hour martini lunches, or the mixup with the Frozen Fish Fingers account (Bob took them out for steak and spent the whole time talking about how much he hates seafood). It’s because you are buying the wrong soap, sister.

Fine. Fine. Just remember, Lifebuoy Boys: wives can go out and buy Camay or Sunlight – which come without Bonus Guilt. And without that Free Pamphlet, “How to Self-Torture,” Included with Every Purchase.

Here’s a link to the large version at Ad Access, so you can drink in all the dialogue.

About these ads

18 thoughts on “Put the Blame On Jane

  1. The Lifebouy ads are hilarious! Everyone makes it seem like the end of the world and that the woman is always the problem, whether it is because she stinks for a date or makes her family stink. Talk about guilt-tripping!Hilarious commentary by the way :)

  2. You're too funny! This is one of the best ads ever!! And of course woman are to blame! Silly you… And bobs too stupid to know he smells bad… of course he is, if he married a dolt who buys the wrong soap hes tooooo just plain to stupid to know anything.

  3. Bob sounds pretty passive agressive. He could have asked his wife to buy Lifebouy (of course he couldn't be expected to buy it himself) but instead he just goes around stinking and blaming his wife for it.

  4. Amanda – I agree, the Lifebuoy ads are classic.Tracy – This is truly one of the best ads over on Ad Access. Thank goodness I had access to it :)Dee – Yes, this is one passive-aggressive guy. I suspect that the adman was drawing on autobiography here, don't you? "Bob, c'est moi."

  5. I'm conflicted. On one hand, Bob's boss is a caring individual: Bob stunk up the entire office but was allowed to keep his job. On the other, interoffice communication is non-existent, forcing employees to use outside channels to accomplish basic business needs. The subtext is that Jane's friend Grace is the CEO. Is Bob having an affair with her? That's usually how these things turn out.P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)

  6. P.L. – I love your storyline, it is the perfect movie treatment for this ad. Now we just need a title for this – ahem – soap opera…One Lifebuoy to Live!Soap operas really were named for the sponsors – soap companies. They did seem to have a penchant for drama.

  7. Great find Lidian, the 'fresh and dainty' comment at the end of the ad is hysterical.Maybe the husband's career might not have been stifled as much in the Middle Ages?

  8. Could you imagine – either back then or now – if two (real) people actually shared in the sort of absurd dialogs you see in ads such as this? ;PMany thanks for your wonderful comments, it's always terrific to hear from you, dear!♥ Jessica

  9. Frogs in my Formula – Thank you! And ditto – I love your blog and it is high time you were on my blogroll (goes off to fix this…)Georgina – Thank you! :) I can't tell you how glad I was to discover your blog, too. So much fun!Jessica – Same here, I love hearing from you too :) And I love reading your blog.

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