Coppertone deaf

We’re all in full summer mode, and that means spending more time outdoors. More time outdoors means we’re spending more time in the sun. More time in the sun means we’ll need sun protection.

As we do that, we reach for a brand we know and trust: Coppertone.

Coppertone’s name actually originated from its marketing, when in 1944, a pharmacist invented the lotion to darken tans (henceforth, a “copper”-colored skin “tone”). It really became famous in 1953 when the iconic Coppertone girl was created, whereby a dog pulls down her blue swimsuit and reveals her behind to have a lighter tone than the rest of her tiny body, all accompanied by the slogan, “Don’t be a paleface!”

If you think that slogan has an element of racist tinge, you are not mistaken. Coppertone’s original logo was the profile of an Indian chief. (Don’t feel too bad, Coppertone, you have company.)

Although it wasn’t a permanent fix at the time, at least Coppertone’s ancestors had the decency to lessen the nuances by replacing the Indian coppertonewith the girl. Eventually, the slogan was eliminated altogether, and even her “paleface” and bare bottom disappeared, too.

In later years, the Coppertone girl has been imitated, cartooned and parodied.

And somewhere along the way, I suspect someone – probably another pharmacist – realized darkening a tan isn’t the best thing for your health, so they developed a popular line of sunscreens to protect us. Coppertone was even named the #1 pediatrician recommended brand.

All seemed well in the slather-iffic world of Coppertone until their highly paid marketing geniuses decided to run an ad in the June 2014 American Baby magazine, and then let it fall into the hands of the dadmarketing headquarters.

Coppertone has a history of adapting with the times, but their latest magazine ad reeks of 1953. I love the opening two lines, “You want to let your kids be kids. But you still have to be the mom.”

Yep, if it weren’t for moms, kids would be dying of skin cancer everywhere because dads won’t do it; they’re lazy. That’s exactly the message Coppertone is sending, isn’t it?

But don’t take dadmarketing’s word for it, the rest of the world thinks dads are lazy, too. Go to Google Images and search “lazy.” You’ll find incessant pictures of men sleeping on couches, or watching TV.

Stereotypes die hard.

But then again, so does halfhearted, outdated, behind-the-times ad copy.

Now that’s what I call lazy.

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