Marketing Mayhem: Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Deodorant

Deodorant. It’s right up there with toothpaste on the list of morning priorities. I’m not above “rinsing” my hair to get out the door on time or even donning a bathing suit when in need of clean underwear. But deodorant is non-negotiable.

For a long time, I was a dyed-in-the-wool Old Spice girl. The packaging tries to look all gruff and nautical but underneath it all is the “masculine” aroma of…gingerbread and chai.

And Christmas. It kind of smells like Christmas.

Unfortunately, Old Spice also has Triclosan, D&C Green 5, and a bunch of other sketchy ingredients.

So I broke it off with Old Spice and got together with Tom’s of Maine. Tom was a stand-up guy — not flaky like those hippie crystal “rock” dudes. He wasn’t particularly fancy — no smells reminiscent of desserts or holidays — but what he lacked in flair he made up for in reliability.

Then…something changed.

Tom started pushing a new version: Long Lasting.

Hops, Zinc…pretty fancy stuff. So I gave it a try.

LL Tom is less the reliable nice guy and more the bad boy who makes a lot of promises before  “borrowing” your credit card and skipping town with your sister. It seems inconceivable that a deodorant would make you smell worse than nothing at all — but, believe me, it CAN. I assumed it was a unique body chemistry thing, but Mr. Max had the same experience and he barely sweats at all.

After 3 work days spent carefully positioning myself at the far end of the conference table, I gave up on new-and-improved Tom. Original Tom is still available, though only from a not-very-convenient health food store a few towns over.

I turned to the Internet for information. Like New Coke and Quickster, the aggressive marketing of LL smacks of desperation — and it’s only a matter of time until the bad customer feedback boils over and the company has to backpedal. Right on the Tom’s website were a whole host of reviews of LL Tom. After digging past a few obvious company plants (“OMG it was affordable and worked GREAT!”  -a satisfied customer), my experiences were confirmed.

I think wet dog doesn’t quite capture the…deathiness of it. And no, the scented/unscented doesn’t seem to make a difference.

Funk…yup. A 10 to a 5? Ouch. And apparently the apricot scent has the additional side effect of…

…a “terrible burning rash.”

I have since kicked LL Tom to the curb, but I’m loathe to support a company producing something so vile.  Anybody have any suggestions for a new natural deodorant brand (that’s not one of those crystal rock things)?

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