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Found on eBay: Hai Karate Cologne

We've been talking to a lot of dads lately about the grooming products they used as kids, the treasured brands they swear by to this day, and the more regrettable stuff they slathered on as adolescents because they just didn't know any better. One old time product that seems to fall somewhere right between genuine affinity and total kitsch is "Hai Karate."


This aftershave cologne, discontinued some time in the 1980's, promised to make guys so irresistible to women that the company felt compelled to include karate instructions with the product so guys could defend themselves against ravenous female suitors.

Of course, the packaging and the branding (both somewhat lacking in cultural sensitivity by today's standards) are extremely dated. But what's so striking is just how little advertising for mass-market men's cologne has changed in the past four decades. In storyboard format, this concept—that guys will quite literally have to fight off the girls once they apply this stuff—is still pretty much the norm. Although, in today's ads, we're more likely to see multiple women fighting each other over one freshly scented guy. There are a few variations on this theme.

But the real proof, ad campaigns aside, is in the pudding. Or in this case, the actual contents of a bottle of "Oriental Spice." We've never sniffed the stuff, but we just might shell out for it on eBay to get a whiff. There's no shortage of people looking to unload their old stashes.

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