Contextual Analysis Of Old Spice

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Successful promotional texts must understand the culture and the context from which it arises in order to establish a culturally relevant message that resonates with the audience. Society has become an increasingly hyper-mediated landscape, whereby audiences are constantly bombarded with forgettable homogenised advertisements. Contemporary promotional texts, therefore, must have cultural insight and in order to produce unique messages which stand apart from generalised advertisements and, appeal specifically to the deeply entrenched ideologies and myths held by the target audience. Old Spice’s ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ (TMYMCSL) commercial featuring Isaiah Mustafa (Old Spice, 2010) is a successful text that became a viral cultural…show more content…
Old Spice’s TMYMCSL commercial was released on the youtube which increased the shareability by enabling a larger audience engagement, targeting younger audiences by promoting interactivity, as millennials “engaged more deeply with brands through social networks” (Barton, 2014). Old spice’s insightfulness on the context in which the ad was produced enabled them to develop an authentic and entertaining ad, that humorously satirised the hyper-sexual and exaggerated notions presented in male body wash ad’s. Using witty, fast-paced monologue presented by Isaiah Mustafa the commercial formed an emotional connection with the audience, creating an ‘inside joke’ between Isaiah’s character and individuals watching the ad, by articulating the fantastical claims made by other advertisements. Using viral marketing the ad “exploits existing social networks by encouraging customers to share product information with their friends” (DĂNIASĂ et al., 2010, p.280) based on its humour and originality. YouTube 's facilitation of easy shareability turned the ad into a viral sensation reaching over 40 million views in one week (Hepburn, 2010). Thus, the ad is successful because it uses promotional methods and humour that align with the cultural context. Therefore, if we don’t understand the cultural context of an ad we cannot comprehend why the ad became such a…show more content…
Old Spice’s ad doesn’t sell the products attributes, it sells the ideologies and associations that the symbols in the ad produce about the body wash, alluding to a deeper mythical meaning that relies on cultural codes and context (Williams, 2003, p.155). Similar to the way in which Nike succeed in using an innovative cultural expression, Old Spice breaks away from the cultural orthodoxy of hyper-sexualized men’s body wash advertisements. Instead associating their product with manliness, to produce particular myth about Old Spice being the scent for a ‘man’ (Holt and Cameron, 2010, p.20), with the ad itself becoming a guide on “what it means to be a man of the twenty-first century” (O 'Connell, 2010). Through the use of ideologies, the ad presents a dual meaning, allowing men and women to interpret the ad differently and appealing to their consumeristic ideals. To females, the Old Spice sells the myth of romance and ‘manliness’ through the portrayal of an ‘ideal man’. Using rapid fire questioning directed straight at the female audience, women are asked to make a comparison between Isaiah’s character and their partners, “look at your man, now back to me, now back at your man, now back to me” (Old Spice, 2010). The purpose being to
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