Should I Overanalyse Old Spice Or Just Buy It?

Meet the latest successful viral marketing campaign. It’s from Old Spice who have created a collection of odd yet very amusing commercials for their products. This one made me giggle… and then I had to re-watch it to try and spot the joins between each special effect (I couldn’t).

So one could analyse this commercial and critique what it has to say about being male, “lady smells” and the whole stereotypical notion of what women desire. But it feels like that’s taking it all too seriously. I suspect that the advertising company is taking a cheeky and ironic jab at notions of what makes a MAN (that’s MAN in capitals, of course). Essentially, it’s taking the piss out of other commercials that try to speak to macho notions of masculinity. Thus, this ad:


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I think if you’re taking it seriously you probably need to get out and practice smiling a bit more.

In the end, these ads are funny, plain and simple. And that guy in the first ad is so sexy he doesn’t require any kind of diamonds (or artificial smells).

And I could even be tempted to buy this stuff and use it on myself. I want to smell like a MAN too. Now that’s a successful ad campaign.

Update 18th Feb: The commercial is up to 1.7 million views and I’ve found a video about how the ad was made. Unfortunately it’s 20 minutes long so here’s the quick version: the whole thing was done in one shot. The only computer graphics used were those with the tickets, diamonds and bottle rising up out of his hand. The shower was a set lifted by a huge crane and the boat was also a set. When he says “What’s in your hand?” he’s sitting down on a specially designed rig that moves him away from the boat and onto the horse. You can see the sky move in the background. They did have to digitally remove a few bits of that rig from under the horse’s neck.

Apparently the shoot took 3 days and this is the 53rd take. The actor’s name is Isiah Mustafa and apparently his phone has rung off the hook after this ad. He’s also on Twitter; his location is “on a horse”.

Update 19th Feb: The LA Times has an interview with the lovely Isiah here. Turns out he’s got a girlfriend.

3 Replies to “Should I Overanalyse Old Spice Or Just Buy It?”

  1. I love these ads. The first one especially is acknowledging the existence of the female gaze, while playing with gender stereotypes in a self-aware and genuinely funny way.

    In the first season of Mad Men, there’s an episode where the hero is trying to figure out how to market men’s deodorant, and he decides that since women are the ones actually making the purchasing decision in the store, they need to figure out what women want. I suspect the folks who designed that ad MAY have seen that episode, you think?

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