Act Like A Man, Man!: An Examination of Old Spice Ads

Old Spice New

“Our print ad rejects the idea that the Old Spice product is desirable because of the heteronormative assumption that ‘blondes prefer gentlemen.’ Rather, we decided to advertise the true purpose of the deodorant to consumers—the elimination of body odor.”

“Recently, Old Spice has advertised creatively by taking advantage of YouTube, the video-sharing giant of the Internet. Their first of many satirical and quirky short videos on their official YouTube channel has almost 50 million views. The most recent ad campaign uses jokes about masculinity to attract male buyers to feel more comfortable buying body wash. It has obviously been successful, as in the three days after these videos were released, Old Spice’s twitter following increased from 3,000 to 48,000 followers. Since then, sales of body wash have increased 51%. Old Spice is no longer simply an increasingly popular brand, but it has also become a cultural icon and source of entertainment.”
—Georgia Griffis, Ivy Wappler, Charlie Bailey, Angela Kong, and Cailley Biagini

The Original Old Spice Print Advertisement

Old Spice Original“This Old Spice print advertisement makes use of the male gaze to target heterosexual men who may consider the blonde model to be a valuable commodity. Additionally, the advertisement celebrates blondeness as beautiful and enforces a specific beauty ideal. By valorizing white models, less space becomes available for minorities, enabling narrower and more stereotypical representations of those minorities. Similarly, ‘gentleman’ connotes that the goal for consumers is to reach an upper socioeconomic class. This formula strengthens capitalism because no matter how many products consumers buy, they will continually be dissatisfied with themselves and seek remedy from media and consumption.”

The Original Old Spice Audiovisual Advertisement

“This commercial reinforces heteronormativity in that, although the commercial is intended to be satirical, it does so in a manner that is understated rather than overt, which does not challenge the current discourse and rhetoric surrounding sexist tropes. This commercial utilizes a heteronormative script and appeals to both men and women—men by its featuring of a men’s product, women by marketing towards those whom buy products for their man. Companies aim to gender products in order to reinforce the rigid gender norms and expectations to entice customers to be more ‘manly’ and less ‘ladylike.'”

The Revised Old Spice Audiovisual Advertisement

“For our own audiovisual component of the project, we decided to remake the Old Spice commercial with variation of words and plot to emphasize inequalities the commercial encourages. Because the advertisement draws on gender inequalities to appeal their product to ‘manly men,’ we decided to challenge conventional ideas of gender roles in order to advocate equity in a way that the majority of Old Spice commercials don’t.”

One thought on “Act Like A Man, Man!: An Examination of Old Spice Ads

  1. Abby says:

    I’m currently writing a analytical paper on this Old Spice commercial. I think your comments and remake are hilarious! Good job

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