Since the TV show “Mad Men” has become so popular everyone seems to think that the 1960s were the pinnacle of creative advertising. Clearly these people have not seen the 1956 spectacle that is Fresh. Stick. Deodorant.
The commercial features a guy balancing on a rotating drum, spinning five rings on his arms while the announcer drones on about how staying fresh is a tough “balancing act” for “difficult cases.” Now that’s entertainment!
I’m not sure how they decided this would be a compelling advertising campaign but I can’t imagine how they came up with the name. The meeting probably went something like this:
“What should we call this thing?” asked the client.
“Well, it keeps you fresh.” says the account manager.
“And it’s in stick form.” the graphic designer chimed in.
“I’ve got it!” shouts the agency vice president. “We’ll call it “Fresh Stick.”
Don Draper has nothing on these guys!
And now for the beauty science part: Fresh Stick used sodium zirconium lactate in a gelled soap base of water and alcohol. To prevent the alcohol from evaporating stick the entire thing had to be sealed inside a glass jar. Not exactly what you’d call convenient packaging. Modern antiperspirant sticks consist of fatty alcohols and volatile silicones which are much easier to package and have much better application properties.