• SumoMe

After recently covering how not to use manliness in advertising, I thought I’d write about an instance in which advertisers can poke fun at ideas of manliness without being utterly ridiculous. Old Spice is by far the best at walking this fine line. You may remember this guy from the wildly popular “the man you wish your man would smell like,” commercial. Well, he’s at it again, this time making a series of videos playing “MANta Claus” and giving “gifts” to all 7 billion people. So far they are only on day one, and it seems like a promising enterprise.

I don’t want to turn this post into a huge spam of videos, so I posted my favorite in which he writes the entire city of Baltimore a letter to each person’s boss convincing them to give each person a raise.


What sets this series of advertisements apart from the dreadful Dr. Pepper 10 advertisement is the lack of some sort of message of exclusivity. “[This product] is not for women” is a much different message than “You wish your man smelled like me.” I’ve found that nobody, male or female, likes the former, yet everyone likes the latter.

Not only are the Old Spice commercials creative and funny, they appeal to everyone who watches them. Both men and women find something to like in his exaggerated manliness, and that’s the whole point of using this quality in the first place.

Manliness is not an exclusive club where you’re in or out; and neither is femininity for that matter. Manliness is merely a set of core values in which one can live their life. Manliness is not a destination (“Drink Dr. Pepper 10 and you’re a man, since it’s not for women”), but rather a way of living (“I’m going to write a letter to your boss suggesting you get a raise.”) The difference is subtle, but wildly important.

If people are going to get randomly exposed to notions of manliness in pop culture, I’d much rather them experience it through the Old Spice method than the Dr. Pepper 10 method.

What do you think? Are the Old Spice commercials good, bad, or neutral towards promoting a healthy notion of manliness in pop culture? Share your thoughts in the comments below.