For me, watching T.V. these days has become almost like people watching. Turn on the tube and you never know who or what is going to show up. There are pigs looking for blankets, trees screaming about falling in the woods, and an M&M crooning along to Meatloaf’s, “I will do anything for love, But I won’t do that”. All this madness is entertaining for sure. After watching the Bears game a few weeks ago I got a look at the newest campaign below. After thinking it was incredibly creepy for about five minutes, I thought to myself these guys are at a level that most companies could only dream of.
Before I get into it, I can’t help mentioning the robot seemed to draw heavy inspiration from this guy. Anyway here we go:
So what’s driving this ship anyway? For starters the themes created by Weiden & Kennedy in these commercials are incredibly simple. “Smell Like a Man, Man”, “Old Spice Gives You Power”, and “Sad Moms” are just a few I can think of off the top of my head. The theme should really be anything goes, as these ads feature everything from creepy moms hanging on to the back of their sons cars while they pursue young women to Terry Crews screaming at you at the top of his lungs about his many biceps and power. My all-time favorite though, is a classic spot from a few years back which featured former NFL star Ray Lewis flying around on the back of a raven and blowing up the planet Saturn. I know you remember this one. It also helps that they’ve got that catchy whistle at the end of their commercials, which is even more effective because they constantly mock it. People always love a company that doesn’t take itself seriously.
So why the hell does all this nonsense work anyway? It’s pretty simple actually. It works because Old Spice is like more like an “old friend” which you’ve had forever. After a while, you get to a point in the relationship where you just want to test the other person’s boundaries so you do stupid stuff because you’ve earned the right to. You poke them in the head, set traps for them while they’re sleep, whatever…horseplay as we like to call it. Old Spice ads are the commercial and artistic embodiment of these kinds of antics, the only difference being a couple millions of viewers happen to be watching. The ads are like throwing a penny off a balcony. Is it stupid? Absolutely. But it’s even more fun to look over the railing and see what happens to the penny as it summersaults out of control until it hits the ground.
What’s even better is how effective this televised horseplay actually is. When I go to the store, I already know where to find old spice and that they have a million different scents. They mention some of these but it doesn’t really matter because I pick one when I get to the store. Old Spice lets me open their products and smell them, which only helps their cause. The product really takes care of itself so this leaves the commercial with only a few: make me laugh (which they do because they’re hilarious) and to remind me to check the stuff out. They accomplish the second goal by becoming a mental trigger that reminds us “Hey after we get done acting stupid and weird, go check your cabinets and make sure you have all the stuff we make because we’re cool just like you and your friends”.
The Shenanigans never seem to end with Old Spice. At this point it’s almost not by choice. Viewers have become so accustomed to seeing all kinds of new wild ideas from Old Spice that if Weider & Kennedy even thought about sitting on their hands for a few seconds, we might go nuts seeing the same spot twice. If you’re in Old Spice’s shoes, this is definitely a good problem to have. I also love the fact that the company basically said to the Weider & Kennedy “Here the keys, do what ever you want with it just make sure it doesn’t end up in a lake… and if it does, just make sure you film it”. All of this makes more incredibly entertaining ads which more than serve their purpose. If you can’t get enough of these ads like me, check out this spool of all the Terry Crews ads here. Enjoy!