Analyzing Persuasive Techniques in Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" Commercial

Topics: Old Spice, Humor, Comedy Pages: 5 (1481 words) Published: July 4, 2013
University of Rijeka
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Department of English Language and Literature

Analyzing Persuasive Techniques in Old Spice's “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like“ Commercial

Student: Mia Sarić
Course: English Language 1
Course Instructor: Irena Meštrović Štajduhar, M.Ed.
Ac. Year: 2012/2013

This essay covers persuasive techniques used in the video commercial for Old Spice deodorant, as well as the messages that lie in the heart of the very commercial. The essay will try to explain the techniques and effects of persuasion on targeted audience, while at the same time referring to style and language. A great emphasis is put on humor, as it is the main technique of persuasion used in the very commercial.

The commercial that is the subject of this work is Old Spice's “The man your man could smell like” 33 second long video, which increased Old Spice sales as much as 106% at one point. In order to explain and understand this phenomenon, attention should be drawn to persuasive techniques used by advertisers to subconsciously influence targeted audience, while analyzing main messages itself.

First, let us take a look at the concept of the commercial itself. The product, Old Spice deodorant, is presented to the audience by a physically attractive, stereotypically masculine African American, the narrator and the only character in the commercial, stereotyped to the point of exaggeration. Presented image leaves us with the idea of a parody. The main character is addressing the audience in second person, leading them through the commercial. One of the most interesting things about his narration is that, although the product itself is aimed at men, the commercial is not directly addressed to them. The narrator speaks to women, which is undoubtedly one of the factors of the popularity of this commercial, as it gives an unexpected twist to it, taking into consideration the well-known fact that most commercials of this type feature a stereotypical macho model, who addresses that men should aspire to look and act like him. By looking at some of the commercials of the type, especially at the older Old Spice commercials, a common persistent pattern can be noticed, which is now made fun of, the reason being the company's attempt to try and abandon their outdated image.

The narrator is, as mentioned before, an exaggeratedly stereotypical masculine persona, overly confident and arrogant to the degree that makes his personality unrealistic and humorous. He is trying to sell the product by selling himself, stating that any ordinary man could come at least close to what he was, just by using the same deodorant. The unintentional humor comes from his exaggerated personality and randomness of the commercial's plot. First, we see the man in the bathroom, three seconds later he is on a boat, holding an oyster containing two tickets, which are soon replaced by diamonds and at the very end, he is on a horse. What makes this concept interesting and humorous is that he keeps eye contact with the audience through every second of the commercial, while describing everything that he is doing and everything that is seen on the screen, thus stating the obvious.

The advertisement is not saying anything about the actual product, and is instead focused on selling the commercial rather than the product, which in this case is understandable as Old Spice is an established and popular brand. Advertisers count on the sense of humor of both men and women, whilst using an attractive man to occupy women’s attention.

Targeted audience, as aforementioned, is the younger population of heterosexual men and women who share a particular sense of humour. By using mockery and a sort of parodying of the commercial, mixing it with sex appeal and personality, advertisers have created a persuasive and informative advertisement that is not aimed at a broader audience, as the above mentioned factors, do not appeal to older...

References: -Basic persuasion techniques [PDF document]. Retrieved from English Language 1 MudRi website:
- Old Spice | The Man Your Man Could Smell Like [video]. Found on Old Spice youtube channel:
- Reiss, C. (2010). Five lessons from the Old Spice Man. Entrepreneur, 38(9), 22
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[ 2 ]. Reiss, C. (2010). Five lessons from the Old Spice Man. Entrepreneur, 38(9), 22
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