September 24, 2018
Stumbled on Rexona in December 1908 as ointment for cow teats! That surprised me because its modern branding is so..modern! Yet it has been around, in some form, for just about 110 years now.
Created in Australia in 1908 by “Mrs Alice Sheffer,…she wanted to give people new kinds of personal care products, with effective ingredients that also smelled good,” according to the megacompany’s web page.
By 1911 the ointment is marketed for humans as a “rapid healer” for ailments such as haemorrhoids.
By 1913 Rexona is also a ‘medicated soap’ as a health and beauty product as well as the ointment with the slogan ‘The Rapid Healer’.
By the 1960s the ‘rapid healer’ ointment is dismissed but the soap lasts just a little longer before also giving over to only being a deodorant/antiperspirant product. If we could pin-point it, there must have been an impressive marketing campaign in 1960-something to have retained an old established brand yet switched around the product to which it applied!
‘Rexona’ sounds very Latin but I can’t find a trace of it prior to Mrs Sheffer’s use. That is, except for a horse’s name in 1897, so surely it has some meaning? Sounds like another way of saying Regina, or female king doesn’t it?
From bovine mammaries to hominid axilla…
I doubt Mrs Alice really created the product, I think the idea of a benevolent home chemist was just part of the marketing. Initially I don’t think they knew what to do with the stuff but eventually found their way from bovine mammaries to hominid axilla. The 50 year run as a ‘rapid healer’ was probably debunked by the atomic age of science along with all sorts of other silly tonics. I don’t think they really have anything special or perhaps even propriety to sell at all. Only a brand! And for that Rexona owners have always been able to find a vehicle.