I’ve been going back and forth about whether I want to respond to a bad Old Spice Ad that was clearly created more to elicit strong reactions, than to sell product. It’s subtitled “The Moms Song” and it involves a group of moms trying to come to terms with their son’s sexual coming of age.
Amy Oztan posted this morning, wondering who the ad appeals to? Who is the target audience? I think that another question would be who doesn’t it offend? As a marketing professional, I know that this stuff doesn’t happen by accident.
This calculatedly creepy/offensive ad was created with the hopes of getting people fired up and squawking. Bravo. And shame on them.
Elissa Freeman, a PR pal of mine, felt that this ad was a good counterpoint to a standard “accepted” advertising meme – the Daddy who cannot stand to see his little girl grow up and be a woman. I don’t agree. While that genre pokes fun at fathers, they generally show fathers as sentimental, not as utterly pathetic and helpless.
Even when the dad joke goes a little farther and heads into daddy-in-denial territory (father denying a daughters adulthood/sexuality) the joke wouldn’t go and hasn’t gone this far, painting all fathers with a ridiculous brush.
It isn’t one mom who’s a quirky character here. It’s ALL moms. Black moms, white moms, all of them. They are almost indistinguishable from one another in the way that actors in blackface are indistinguishable.
Speaking of blackface… I’m not even sure that the moms in this ad are in fact, women. Comments on YouTube and beyond suggest that they are men in drag. Does this make it better or worse?
Even in hiding and spying on their sons, the moms are passive and powerless – washing in with the tide, limp and being dragged along in a laundry basket. They cling desperately to their sons like a stench that the attractive young men , naturally, wish to shake off.
If only the Old Spice worked like bug spray to ward these repugnant mothers off.
While the image of an overly clingy mom is admittedly a familiar and funny one, this ad paints a frighteningly misogynistic picture of motherhood and womanhood. I fully expect comments telling me to lighten up.
It’s dangerous precisely because it is humorous. Think about all the big-nosed money-grubbing Jew ads of yesteryear. Humor is a perfect package/disguise for hate and discrimination. A low blow and an easy mark.
Making fun of moms is going after low hanging fruit. It’s not indicative of true ad genius. It’s not really pushing the envelope. Think about all the other offensive ads they could have made without making fun of a specific, oft-ridiculed demographic.
- Mom accidentally gets into bed with son who has used husband’s Old Spice? AWKWARD
- Savvy Mom buys Old Spice for son to help him get laid? INAPPROPRIATE
- Son puts on Old Spice and his friend’s MILF mom hit on him? WASN’T THAT ALREADY A MOVIE?
Maybe they just should have left moms out of it.
Ironically, earlier this week my 9 yr old son asked me to pick up some deodorant for him. He doesn’t actually need it just yet. I’m sure he has a friend who is using it, or maybe some girl made a comment. Deodorant isn’t a big deal. I’ll happily get some for my son. It just definitely won’t be Old Spice now.
Not because I don’t want him to grow up and be a man and have sex someday. Because I don’t want him to raise daughters and granddaughters with the expectation that they will one day be this kind of ridiculous refuse.
I realize I’m giving this ad more views, simply by posting, but I hope you’ll look at this ad critically and speak up. Ads like this, are not good for us – whether we are middle aged women, young men or young girls.