Johnson & Johnson Baby Oil

Sex sells. So does mom-plus-cute-kid sweetness. But can a single spot combine the two? This one manages to do so. As it opens, a dishy woman gets ready to take a shower. As it closes, her son pops his head into the bathroom doorway. In between, we sense that she’s reveling in her attractiveness as she showers and slathers on the client’s product. When she rubs the baby oil onto her leg, you’d need to be half dead not to see the motion as sexy. The presentation isn’t vampish, though. Rather, onscreen type sets a wry context by giving a mock instruction manual on “How to get unbelievably soft skin.” (Steps include “open bottle” and “add robe.”) Having finished her ablutions, the woman looks at a photo of her son—who then pokes his head into the bathroom doorway. The photo is a smart transitional touch. Without it, we might be expecting to meet the grown-up man in her life and feel jarred by a too-sudden shift to her caring-mom persona. (Female viewers, who never miss these things, will have noted the wedding ring on her finger.) As it is, women will appreciate the implicit message that motherhood needn’t neuter them.