By: Russ Brewer
seconds 3 – 34
The old spice commercial I chose for my reflective writing assignment made many associations. First, the product the subject holds, (Old Spice body wash) is associated with being clean and smelling good. These are ideas that the commercial is trying to project as not just norms but ideals. Evidence of this can be found in other context from within the commercial.
The subject himself, a well chiseled, tall, well-groomed, younger than middle-aged man is the embodiment of many physical ideals desired by society. 30% of CEOs are 6’ 2” or above compared to just 3.9% of the population. Good-looking men and women earn statistically significantly higher wages. If you are old, society discounts you as a useless relic and ships you off to a home. All these things; usefulness, importance, social status, higher earning potential are all associated with the subject of the commercial. So if you smell like him you will be closer to being him and earning more, attaining higher standing etc.
Is that how we want our young men and women to be programed? Do we want people to feel that the only correct way to be is found in Old Spice commercials and body washes? I think this kind of media does effect some guys. When I watch that commercial I look at myself and think “I should take better care of my self”. Not that is a bad thing, but some people may take it to extremes. The advertising industry, being void of values, besides the quest for the all mighty dollar, cares not if you have poor self esteem and end up hurting yourself because of some kind of eating disorder or self abuse.
Masking, distortion and concealment are all things found in this advertisement. The ideology is that you must purchase the product to be accepted. If you are naturally good looking, then perhaps you wouldn’t need Old Spice body wash. But you know you don’t look like that. So buy, and be secure in the idea that you are only as good as you look like, or in this case smell like.
The concealed features are the ideas that you don’t need body wash to be happy or that normal men without washboard abs can be just as accepted as Isaiah Mustafa actor and former NFL practice squad wide receiver. Ideas such as walking on water or simultaneously baking and making home improvements are further distortions of reality. Lastly, the mask that the body wash itself lends its users covers up what is otherwise probably not rank, at least not if a normal deodorant is used. What does one need to do to feel like you more closely resemble Isaiah? Being a cut, professional athlete, who treads atop liquids under your own power and is ashamed of your bodily odors about sums it up.
Reality doesn’t sell body washes. Imagine taking an average guy, average height, weight, completion, athletic ability, just average and get him to sell the idea of why you need to buy something to smell like him. Distortions, like that commercial, I’m sure are much more lucrative. The question is if whether the pop culture “ideal” pushing some people to have unhealthy habits.