I guess we need to talk about the new “Old Spice” commercial
posted at 4:41 pm on January 6, 2014 by Allahpundit
Ed beat me to the punch in the Greenroom but this needs a bit more palate-cleansing attention. There are two levels of weirdness here, although I don’t think either has to do with the basic concept. A mom lamenting that her little boy’s all grown up is easy enough to relate to and the “stalking” scenarios are so over-the-top that they’re more corny than creepy. What’s weird is the execution. What’s with the bad singing? The production sounds like a Meat Loaf B-side except that the vocals in places are strikingly amateurish. I assume that was to lend verisimilitude, i.e. that an average mom wouldn’t sing so great, but I don’t know why Old Spice would care about that in a hallucinatory spot like this. Also, what’s with the camera tricks? The one at the end, of the mom sliding across the floor in stop-motion, is especially odd and gratuitous. Either this is a parody of something and I’m not getting the cultural reference or Old Spice decided to go balls-out freaky on it purely in the name of getting attention. Not sure how that’s going to move units for a brand that everyone already knows, but okay.
The other weirdness is the target audience. I think Dan Riehl’s right that this is, ostensibly, aimed at teen boys to convince them that Old Spice will get them as much action as Axe will. But that’s not how it translates. To my eye, it looks like moms are the audience. Right? The kids are an afterthought; the attractive girlfriend character, which usually drives ads aimed at adolescent boys, goes all but completely unnoticed. Hard for me to believe you’ll convince teens they’re going to get laid by playing up, however jokingly, the psychic toll that doing so will inflict on mom. The look of the ad is oddly timeless, too. There’s really nothing here to suggest we’re in 2014 instead of, say, 1985; the hairstyles and clothes in the high-school cafeteria seem outdated. That detail would be lost on an 18-year-old but a fortysomething mom might recognize it from her own youth. Why do that if you’re pitching this at kids? Maybe the ad is pitched at moms — specifically, moms who do the grocery-shopping for their families and are responsible for picking up deodorant/body spray for junior at the supermarket. Here’s what you get your pride and joy if you want to make him popular with the ladies. Which is … yeah, pretty creepy.
Anyway, I know, I know — any publicity is good publicity.