Bil Browning

Old Spice = sexy?

Filed By Bil Browning | January 09, 2007 11:36 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: consumerism, Old Spice, Proctor & Gamble

OLD_SPICE_M.jpgAh yes, the familiar sailboat logo on the classic white bottle cluttering thousands of medicine cabinets across America... It's an American fragrance icon -- and no self-respecting man (gay or straight!) would be caught dead wearing it. Perhaps you've noticed this phenomena. Proctor & Gamble certainly has...

They've hired the advertising team of Wieden + Kennedy to update the 80 year old cologne's image. The ad firm, which produced hits like Nike's "Just Do It" campaign, will unveil their racier, edgier and sexier marketing this week. Maybe they'll call it OS 2.0... Nah. They're gonna stick with penis jokes.

One of the new ads features movie star Faye Dunaway lounging by a fire with the caption "If your grandfather hadn't worn it, you wouldn't exist."

Another displays a picture of a foot-long hot dog and the caption "What? Is there some reason we can't just have a picture of a 12-inch-long hot dog without everyone freaking out?"
Monica Taylor, another Wieden + Kennedy creative director on the campaign, said P&G was "always reminding" the agency of its tradition, but nonetheless welcomed the racier approach.

"We're a bunch of dysfunctional, crazy people over here so we thought maybe we can give them a little of that sex appeal," Taylor said.

Cuz nothing says sexy to me like a foot-long hot dog. You should see what those vendor stands do to me... *rolls eyes*

Now, I'll give you that the Old Spice brand has picked up in recent years. Proctor & Gamble bought the brand back in 1990 and specifically targeted the deodorant and antiperspirant line. Four years later it was the top selling brand among teens and first time buyers. But sexy?

Don't get me wrong. I like the smell of Old Spice - I do. But I like that smell in the same way that I like the smell of cedar chips or lavender sachets. It's a good smell but not something I want on me. It's a smell from simpler times, a throwback to my childhood. My grandfather wore Old Spice. I always think of him when I smell it. And I just don't think of sex when I think of Grandpa.

So what about you? Think Old Spice can bring sexy back? (You know somewhere Justin Timberlake is cringing!) Can they pull it off? Will it be the next-big-thing again?

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Marla R. Stevens | January 11, 2007 5:22 AM

My least sexy grandfather wore Old Spice.

The drop-dead gorgeous one who I called Popsie wore some delicious but obscure concoction redolent with bergamot, leather, and vetiver with just a hint of lime.

I remember well tiptoeing around the upper hall and past my grandmother's room to his room pre-dawn (never beating him to wakefulness) guided by the scent of thick Luzianne coffee with chicory, white country gospel and the farm and tide reports playing softly on the radio -- sometimes with a background of loon calls.

I would sit at his table by the east-facing window that overlooked the marsh and Dickerson Creek, drinking a cup of much-sugared and creamed coffee and sharing a fresh melon that he pulled from the little refrigerator, chatting and watching the sun rise before he retreated to his shower.

I'd run to get dressed and be back in time for when his bathroom door would open for me to be near when he splashed the aftershave on his face and tied his shoes -- often white bucks -- his powerful six-foot-four inch frame all dressed in a summer ice cream suit or winter pinstriped grey wool.

We'd go downstairs to the green room where he'd read the Wall Street Journal or Savannah Morning News (I'd get the comics) as we waited for Emma to finish his breakfast of runny eggs, thick country bacon, and grits -- all of which he'd turn pink with heavy dashes of of the Tabasco sauce my grandmother bought by the multiple cases and stored in the large walk-in pantry up the back porch stairs above the kitchen.

He'd look out the window of the dining room past the huge old cedar tree and Roses of Sharon, hibiscus, camellias, and azaleas to the creek and marsh with egrets and herons.

His look would sometimes grow long and I knew not to interrupt his thoughts but would watch Clement carefully removing the dust from his shiny black car, readying it for the drive to the city where that wily old country boy would turn his eagle-focused attention to the business of international shipping.

He never failed to hug me and say, "See you in the funny papers" before he drove away, the scent of his aftershave mixed with the heavy starch from his collar lingering in my mind long after he was gone from view down the old post road.