Almost everyone’s familar with the Clairol Herbal Essences‘ TV commercials which feature women washing their hair, moaning in pleasure, enjoying what’s described as a “totally organic experience.” This ad campaign was a great success for the brand even though its sexual overtones made it quite controversial.
But we here at The Beauty Brains note that originally Herbal Essences wasn’t controversial at all; it was just an herbal shampoo brand when it started out back in the early 70s. Here’s what it looked like:
At first glance this appears to be a simple ad, designed to sell shampoo to flower-loving, Earth spirit, hippie types. No harm in that, right? Certainly no titilating pseudo-sexual message hidden here right? Wrong! Let’s take a closer look at the advertising copy:
Phrases like “you’ll think you’re handling flower petals,” “combination of earthly pleasures” and feeling “texture like the inside of a rose petal” sound less like a shampoo ad and more like lines from a Harlequin romance novel. And given the mind-expanding drug culture that helped define the 1970s, the reference to “mysterious green herbs” sounds HIGHLY suspicious. (Pun intended.)
So, 30 years before they brought the “Big O” to our TV screens, Herbal Essences was already out there hawking shampoo to Hippies with the lure of onanism and illicit drugs. And you thought shampoo only cleaned your hair!
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