A few years ago I used to think Old Spice products smelled terrible. I toyed with the idea of buying Old Spice deodorant a few times but I could never find a type their deodorant that I actually liked. Then suddenly —I’m not sure when or why— I started wearing it,  I found a brand I liked (Arctic Force) and then kept buying it. I got approval from my girlfriend and saved a few bucks in the process because Old Spice cost about a dollar less than the other deodorant I had been buying (keep in mind I’m a lowly college student. A dollar is equivalent to about $10 for regular folks).

Soon enough I found myself buying the Old Spice body wash. This came around the time that I started noticing the new Old Spice commercials with Isaiah Mustafah —the ones that exaggerated the virtues of wearing Old Spice farther than any other deodorant commercial, and that’s saying something!

As my friends started to notice and love those commercials too, I started to check out Old Spice’s website so that I could see the newest funny videos. In the process I was introduced to the latest Old Spice body washes and I tried them out.

As I think back to the earliest days of my Old Spice use I wonder if I would be such a faithful buyer if I the commercials weren’t so funny, and if Old Spice hadn’t advertised on youtube, t.v., its website, and twitter. It may have been in part just because their product got better. One can’t be completely sure about these things but I doubt it. I think what really roped me in was Old Spice’s commitment to continually make funny as hell commercials like this one in addition to having a good product:

The larger moral of this story is that effective advertising doesn’t just have to be funny or just have to be for a good product or just have to be on t.v. and the internet, it has to be all these things.



It would go something like this. God I’m glad this is just a joke. As a proud Chicago White Sox fan (which yes, insultingly, doesn’t show up on the Red Sox fans’ radar at all) I have nothing but blind contempt and rage for the foul mouthed Red Sox. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then watch this clip and know that the truth in this joke is that Red Sox fans are just like this:

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I do like the pour some over for Ted bit.


(h/t: Alyssa Rosenberg)

I’ve always noticed that the ads that Sterling Cooper comes up with are rarely about anything. They usually don’t say much about the product. Take the Lucky Strike account. Don comes up with the slogan “It’s Toasted” which is a raving success but what does that actually say about the Lucky Strikes? It doesn’t actually indicate any superiority over the other brands (which was the idea). At the same time “It’s Toasted” isn’t a failure, it’s a successful, memorable slogan because, for some reason, toasted tobacco is soothing and pleasant to think about.

I realized that these fluffy ads aren’t really unique to Mad Men. Take my favorite Gillette ad. I regularly use Gillette products because, I guess, the commercials and I’ve never had any real problem with the razors or the shaving cream. Even so, I’d say their ads are a notable part of why I pick Gillette over Schick or another brand.  But the Gillette ad campaigns don’t actually tell you why the Gillette products are good, just that they are good — so good that they’re “the best a man can get.” It’s a memorable but empty slogan just like “It’s toasted.” Here’s the Gillette ad:


UPDATE: And as was revealed in the first episode of season 3, Sterling Cooper represents Gillette. No suprise there.