Love’s Baby Soft: Because innocence is sexier than you think? Eww. (’70s & ’80s)

Love's Baby Soft Because innocence is sexier than you think

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Love’s Baby Soft. Because innocence is sexier than you think. (1974-1975)

Love’s Baby Soft is that irresistible, clean-baby smell, grown-up enough to be sexy. It’s soft-smelling. Pure and innocent. It may well be the sexiest fragrance around.

Vintage Love’s Baby Soft 1975 - Innocence is sexier than you think

If you want a three-minute lesson on how society has changed since the mid-1970s, take a look at these Love’s Baby Soft perfume ads, starting with the top two from the mid-seventies.

With a glance, you can tell they’re creepy and so wrong — there’s one with a Lolita-style girl, and the other with a “babyish” young woman licking a lollipop — both featuring the tagline, “Because innocence is sexier than you think.”

Newspapers from coast-to-coast were full of ads for the stuff, and weren’t shy about the slogan, or its meaning. For example, in 1975, one New Jersey paper ran a department store ad with the heading, “Love’s Baby Soft is a blend of innocence and sex.”

A year later, newspapers in several different states — including Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, North Dakota, Texas and Utah — ran an ad for Love’s Baby Soft that called it “an almost grown-up scent that’s so pure, it’s sexy.”

What is also telling about these ads is the lack of response to them. Few people at the time seemed to care about the message being delivered, because that sort of thing was pretty much expected and accepted.

It’s not like people didn’t notice — it seems like it just didn’t trigger any alarm bells. A columnist in The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) even wrote of the inexpensive new cosmetic line in April 1974: “Love Cosmetics has launched a new ‘baby soft’ fragrance for bath and body, claiming that ‘innocence is sexier than you think.’

“Now, I’m a long way from the age of innocence, and cosmetic blurbs are usually so exaggerated that they are ridiculous, but Love sent samples which passed the scent-test of the office noses…”

Clearly, at the time, little thought was given to the icky innocence = sexy motif.

The result? The original pink Love’s (and its lemon counterpart) sold like crazy, because it turned out that some girls liked feeling grown up having their own practice perfume, and a lot of them simply loved the scent. In fact, through much of the seventies and eighties, you couldn’t walk the halls in a junior high or high school without smelling the stuff.

Whether it was the result of quiet pushback on the “sexy” ad campaigns, or just a desire to do something new, the company moved on to other methods of persuasion after a couple of years.

While none of Love’s later advertisements would have earned them any awards, most of them were at least a little less tacky and overt.

By the time the 1980s rolled around, the ads had a decidedly different tone, as the powers that be found better ways to market the drugstore line to teens — and their parents.

But don’t think that was the end of Baby Soft. Many years removed from Love’s questionable marketing tactics, and thanks to the brand riding high on the current wave of nostalgia, these products are available once again.

Introducing Love’s Baby Soft. (1974-1975)

Because innocence is sexier than you think.

Love’s Baby Soft is that irresistible, clean-baby smell, grown-up enough to be sexy.

Introducing Love's Baby Soft - 1974 1975

MORE: 50+ sexist vintage ads so bad, you almost won’t believe they were real

Love’s Baby Soft perfume: Lollipop girl TV commercial (1975)

YouTube video

On the theory that softness is what boys find most exciting about girls

Get a Baby Soft T-shirt and be Baby Soft. A $7.00 value for just $2.75. Go to any Love cosmetic counter for details.

Love's Baby Soft vintage T shirt

Vintage Love’s Fresh Lemon Baby Soft perfume

Love’s Fresh Lemon products are the freshest, lightest, sunniest gifts you can give at Christmas. And this Christmas, you can give Love’s Fresh Lemon for the body and bath in eight different ways. In gift-wrapped packages from $2.50. Love Cosmetics by Menley & James. 

Vintage Love's Lemon Baby Soft perfume

A brief message from Love’s Baby Soft (1979)

2 pairs of incredibly soft “I’m Baby Soft” nylon bikinis for just $3.00 with any Love’s Baby Soft purchase. Available at participating Love cosmetic counters.

Love’s Baby Soft. The soft, fresh, slightly sexy scent.

Love's Baby Soft bikini underwear 1979

MORE: Do you remember these 30 shampoos & conditioners from the ’80s?

Love’s vintage ’70s newspaper ads

Dates of publication, clockwise from upper left: 1976, 1974, 1975, 1979

Retro Love's Baby Soft newspaper ads

On the theory that boys go sweet on girls who go soft.

The soft, fresh, slightly sexy scent from Love with Love.

Some of the nicest things happen in Love's Baby Soft (1981-1982)

MORE: See the top vintage nail polish brands and colors from the 20th century

Some of the nicest things happen in Love’s Baby Soft (1981-1982)

The soft, tender, totally feminine fragrance. It’s like a smile from deep inside. Feel how good you feel.

Because she's still your baby after all... give her Love's Baby Soft

Some of the nicest things happen in Love’s Baby Soft (1981-1982)

The soft, tender, totally feminine fragrance. It’s like a smile from deep inside. Feel how good you feel.

Some of the nicest things happen in Love's Baby Soft (1981-1982)

Because she’s still your baby after all… give her Love’s Baby Soft (1982-1983)

The affordable Christmas gift she’ll love

Give her Love's Baby Soft (1982-1983)

This Christmas, give someone you love lots of love (1983)

Everyone loves Love. Daughters. Granddaughters. Cousins. And, of course, teenage nieces.

Because Love’s Baby Soft is a very soft, delicate scent. As you can see, there are all kinds of Love to give. So feel free to choose as much as you want. Because you can never give anyone too much Love.

Nothing feels as good as Love.

This Christmas, give someone you love lots of love (1983)

MORE: Vintage gift sets for women & girls: Fragrance, beauty & skincare for her

Underneath it all, she’s Baby Soft (1986, 1987, 1988)

Love’s Baby Soft for your soft side, and Love’s Baby Soft Musk for your more sensuous side.

Love's Baby Soft ads - 1986 1987 1988

ALSO SEE THIS: 45 most popular vintage perfumes from the ’80s

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Comments on this story

9 Responses

  1. I was young and extremely innocent in the ’70s; but, I remember distinctly finding something not right about these ads. I didn’t have the ability to put my finger on it, but I always felt it. Gross.

  2. I remember wearing this in junior high. It was probably the first perfume I ever wore. No one gave it a second thought. It was a much more innocent time. Yes, looking at ihe ads now, as an adult, it’s EWWWWWW so tacky. Not to mention the shape of the perfume bottle ITSELF. Am I the only one that thinks that was just tacky???

  3. That lollipop commercial is just weird.

    Also, “and of course teenage nieces.”…. um? Weird! The board room and marketing executives are probably all men as well. Ew.

  4. -OMG!! I wore the stuff all through jr high! And when, the lemon stuff came out, I thought it smelled wonderful!! I sprayed it all over my sweet, 14 year-old young self before my Job’s formal and I thought I was the bomb!! Then, just before my date rang the bell, my grandmother told me I smelled like a dirty kitchen!! Thanks grama’!!

  5. Ok creepy ads check
    Cheesy? Check
    Pervy male marketing reps?? Check check lol my first perfume was l’air de temp I still wear it it’s so pretty my beautiful mother were Chanel number five I wear cocoa Chanel
    I absolutely loved love baby soft pink my precious sister I have three of them one is in heaven God bless her my sister Nancy for me Lauren I love Ralph Lauren when I was about 17 Man do I miss the 80s not because I was younger but because all my beautiful family all still on earth now quite a few have moved on to heaven @kittywaymo
    I still miss the 70’s & 80’s it was something so much less artificial and there is about 2021 I guess that’s why I really love the UK show ashes to ashes set from 1981 to 1983 and UK version mostly said in 73 called life on Mars

  6. Love’s Lemon was so fresh and clean, it smelled…exactly like lemons! I wore it all the time. I didn’t like Baby Soft, by the time I really got into perfume I was wearing Guerlain—Love’s was the kind of stuff that you could get at the drugstore, along with Heaven Sent, Emeraude, Toujours Moi, Jean Nate; all of those were eau de toilette and didn’t cost much. But they smelled so nice! I remember one Christmas I bought a Heaven Sent gift set for my mom from the local CVS, I was so proud.

  7. Every girl in my junior high school had one of those “I’m baby soft” t-shirts (sadly, I never learned if they had the matching panties). Looking back, it’s shocking how cringy that whole marketing campaign was. Was the message supposed to be “help your teenage daughter get laid”?? Even more surprising, no one back then seemed to think it was inappropriate.

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