o.b. ads
German (early 1950s) - German (1970s) - German nude (1970s) - French (1989)
Australian douche ad (ca. 1900) - Fresca douche (date ?) - Kotique douche 1974 ad - Liasan (1) ad - Liasan (2) ad - Lysol 1928 ad - Lysol 1948 ad - Marvel 1926 ad - Midol 1938 ad - Midol 1959 booklet - o.b. German (papyrus tampons) - Pristeen 1969 ad - o.b. German (nude) - Sterizol 1926 ad - Vionell spray 1970 ad (Germany) - the odor page

A British Tampax ad using nudity (1992) - And see other ads directed at teenagers.

See a Modess True or False? ad in The American Girl magazine, January 1947, and actress Carol Lynley in "How Shall I Tell My Daughter" booklet ad (1955) - Modess . . . . because ads (many dates).
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Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

What does o.b. mean? Part 2 (Part 1)
Ads for o.b. tampon, the Netherlands, 1959, in Eva magazine

In part 1 (here) I brilliantly concluded - actually I read it in the ad recently after having guessed what it meant years ago - that o.b. meant "ohne [B]inde," German for "without a pad." A German company invented and owned the tampon before the American company Johnson & Johnson bought the brand in the 1970s, which accounts for the "foreign" language connection to the letters.

But the Dutchman who kindly sent me these ads (and the earlier o.b. ad here, and several other items on this site) mentioned that when he was growing up in the Netherlands o.b. didn't mean "ohne [B]inde" (I bracket the B because German nouns are capitalized except when marketing people get a hold of them). It meant "Onmerkbare Bescherming" - "unnoticeable protection." (Note that in the two ads, below, they are capitalized to draw your attention to the "translation." Dutch nouns are not normally capitalized.) Just as more than one American has told me that o.b. stands for "obstetrician," so the Dutch were led to believe it meant something in their own language - and by the company's ads!

And incredibly - the ad world was on a roll - French ad people changed the letters o.b. in a later ad (here) to mean not words but numbers.

I can't think of another instance in which a company actually changes the meaning of its product name to fit another country in which it appears. Clever marketing! And wise companies, I think, to allow that creativity.

A Dutchman generously sent the scans of these ads along with his story, above.


The ad copy is similar to that of many tampons, including Tampax. 
My translation of the text:
"o.b. We now enjoy more freedom of movement."
"Earlier, with the usual method, we were just half a person the whole day. And we felt miserable. But now? Thanks to modern o.b. hygiene millions of women again do everything: dance, ride the bike, go out, play sports. All the time and everywhere they're completely "safe" [interesting use of English. Why?] with o.b. tampons, the Unnoticeable Protection [translation of Onmerkbare Bescherming], handily tucked away in the smallest purse."
o.b. per pack of 10 tampons covers a month's use: Normal 1 florin, special 1.25 florins.


My translation:
"o.b. Now you're safely protected, all the time and everywhere."
"O, how we suffered earlier! The fuss, the grief! That suffering is gone! Millions of women now enjoy life more, thanks to o.b. tampons, their Unnoticeable Protection. Spry and cheerful they can participate in everything: bike riding, dancing, going out, sports. The o.b. pack fits in the smallest purse."
o.b. per pack of 10 tampons covers a month's use: Normal 1 florin, special 1.25 florins.

End What does o.b. mean? Part 1

o.b. ads: German (early 1950s) - German (1970s) - German nude (1970s) - French (1989)

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