Ad Campaign – Johnson’s Baby Oil, 1972

When you have the face of a girl and the body of a woman you still want the skin of a baby.

A few days ago I wrote about how teens in the early 1970s were really into little girl prints and ruffles and such, and here is an ad that plays directly to that trend. It is from 1972, and I found it in a copy of Seventeen, which was the major teen fashion magazine of that time.  Ditsy print, ruffled cap sleeves, and curled pigtails:  that was high school in the early 70s.  (But not the exposed midriff, not at school anyway!)


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7 responses to “Ad Campaign – Johnson’s Baby Oil, 1972

  1. It’s funny you mention the “little girl” theme Lizzie, as I was just thinking about that, and how things like Love’s Baby Soft perfum etc also promoted this “sexy/child” image for girls and women in the 70s. I wonder if it was a backlash against the strong feminist vibe, like the maxi dress/prairie look was a swing away from mod mini dresses. It’s interesting to see some of the ads for items like this in my vintage magazines – they stand out to today’s eyes and minds but I wonder if they were just thought of as part of the culture of the time. Always interesting – thanks for sharing!


  2. I remember my mother using Johnson’s Baby Oil for tanning and as a makeup remover – I love the smell of it. The ad above makes me a little uncomfortable – doesn’t the model look a little older than high-school age?


  3. Oh, how times change!


  4. Not sure what it is, exactly, but I find this pic a tad creepy.


    • I think the clue is in Mod Betty’s comments. The odd juxtaposition of an older girl dressed like a younger one combined with the slightly suggestive pose is a bit cringe-inducing.

      It’s just a great example of the mixed messages that teens got (and are still getting) concerning attractiveness and sexuality.


  5. That is very interesting. I was a little girl in the 70s. I also remember baby oil being used as a tanning solution until people realized how badly the skin burns, especially if you are fair skinned as I am! You made some interesting points regarding the mixed messages for teens. Now that I am married, my husband often explains that there is a difference between “attractive” and “distractive”. Things that are well-fitted and well-constructed can be far more attractive than those that are just “distractive”.


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