Halting the sweat

Viagra, Penicillin, Plastic, the Microwave, Gunpowder, Vaseline, and Mauve. Quite an odd selection of items? Right? Yes. But wait for it… 

Their discovery was a breakthrough whose advent was squarely a mistake or generally unintended as they became distracting detours for inventors in their quest to carry out the noblest task of inventing. And we can all come to an agreement that these weren’t shabby inventions at all. The list of items can go on and on. 

The impact that these discoveries have had on the consumers couldn’t in any way be overstated and we can categorically state that they aren’t the last to appear on the list for as long as human ingenuity holds forte.

But let’s add one more to the list to spice up the conjuring conundrum of the unintended. ‘The Antiperspirant liquid’

When a physician, Dr Abraham D. Murphey got his ‘thinking hat’ on to find a solution for surgeons with sweaty hands, his daughter Edna Murphey had an epiphany that the same product could serve similar purposes when applied to the underarms to solve a problem many didn’t know they had. 

The story is told that Edna realizes that her dad’s liquid antiperspirant he had invented to keep his hands sweat-free in the operating room could thwart the wetness and smell in her armpits. Surely, people would be interested in such a product, and as a high school student; she started a company and embarked on a marketing campaign. The product was hard to sell at the start, mainly perceived as unnecessary or even unhealthy toiletry or both. 

But a move to Atlantic City in 1912 for a summer-long exposition, in a place where they need the product became appalling, this would be the start of a robust marketing campaign and in the latter years after the world war, the product took significant strides as more and more people desired to stay ‘fresher’ for longer without the worry of uncomfortable ‘wetness’, and as they say, the rest is history. 

Murphey had created the now 18 billion dollar deodorant market industry.

The jury is still out on the product. Seeking to discuss and address concerns about the product. The aching questions remained on the ‘why’ or the safety, and it is these questions that marketing has sought to address, these and the plethora of them from the environmentalists. The discussion could go on and on but let us begin with discussing the product itself in our next piece.



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