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Old Spice Advert Analysis

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 1135 words Published: 15th Dec 2017

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The ‘Old Spice’ advert is a short 33sec advert, which introduces a well toned, sporty and attractive looking man to the viewer (the quintessential dream man). The on-screen protagonist asks the female audience to look back and forth between himself and their own partner which essentially requires the female audience to compare their partners with the on-screen protagonist. The advert provides three scenarios that cleverly sum-up what every woman is supposedly meant to be aspiring towards: being ‘connected’ to an attractive, well-built man; success and high social status and not having to wake up and find their coffee cold! This is done by introducing the protagonist in the shower explaining to the viewer that even if their man is not as attractive and well-built as he is, he can at least smell like him if he changes from using lady-scented shower gel to the more manly, ‘Old Spice’ shower gel. Of course, an understanding of women and their olfactory systems adds to the interpretation of the advert by hinting that even the slightest smell of ‘Old Spice’ could possibly allow women to remove themselves from their current relational predicament and dream of partners similar to our on-screen protagonist. The narrative then moves to a scene aboard a small, but luxurious motor-yacht. Once again, the female audience is asked to look back and forth in order to engage in some form of comparison. The women are asked to locate themselves aboard this motor-yacht but now with a man that their man could smell like. Further references to wealth (diamonds) and realised dreams (tickets to that thing you love) are implied. However, before one distances oneself from the advert due to the sheer outlandish nature of the advert (and hence the marketing gurus losing their target market), the protagonist is suddenly located on a white horse (reference to a knight in shining armour?).More importantly, he mentions that he is, after all, on a horse- a seemingly possible task for even the most ordinary man, which bodes well with the final phrasing: Anything is possible with ‘Old Spice’.

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The text selected is clearly a commercial advertisement: a tele-communication advert. Advertisements are meant to persuade an audience, in this case, the female audience, to take up some form of action. It is common knowledge that a large majority of women are in control of the monthly grocery shop, so it is rather clever that this advert is aimed at persuading women to buy toiletries geared towards their man. This is accomplished by appealing to the female audience’s emotions. Due to the rise of Hollywood, many women tend to find themselves escaping to a dream-like existence with their dream partner. What this advert does, is allow women to venture into this world and in doing-so, gives them a very strong reason to purchase the product.


This particular advert could possibly offer a connection with women who feel trapped or disillusioned with their current situation or state of affairs. If that interpretation is perhaps too deep, it could literally, also be appealing to women who merely want a means of escape to a world that they dream of but will never actually have access to. It offers a world full of material success, social esteem, and ‘endless happiness’. Most of us today would love to be high-flyers who could jet off to dreamy island retreats where we are indulged in all the things we love including diamonds and a beautiful, sexy man at our beck and call. However, most of us will never have that so ‘Old Spice’ is offering a cheaper alternative – allows your man to at least smell like he is worth a million dollars.

In our opinion the rhetorical situation includes three aspects: audience, purpose, and context In this case, the target audience is women who shop for their partners, or possibly the metrosexual man. It is intended to make the women want a man like Isaiah Mustafa and therefore, purchase the shower gel because if he will never look like him, he can at least smell like him.


This is a very cleverly put-together TV advert. It firstly, makes use of a very well-know actor, namely, Isaiah Mustafa, to appeal to the female audience. Secondly, and most importantly, this commercial is made with only one shot yet it portrays three totally different scenes (discussed in more detail in the mise-en-scene discussion below). The first is a shower/bathroom scene, followed by an outdoor scene on a motor yacht and the third is of the actor on a white horse. It is a colour TV commercial with no sub-headings or non-diagetic sound. This is rather unusual as most TV commercial adverts make use of non-diagetic sound to create an atmosphere that will enhance the persuasive quality of the advert. Even though this advert is made with only diagetic sound (the voice of the actor), it is more than enough to entice the female audience as Isaiah Mustafa was clearly equipped with a very manly, sexy and appealing voice (and that is not only my opinion!).

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Mise-en-scene: The construction of the shots within this advert is very clever and deceiving. Seeing as it offers three totally different scenes, one would think that it required several differing shots put together by various editing techniques. However, this advert appears to have only one shot. It starts with an establishing shot which is a wide angle, long shot used to set the bathroom/shower scene. The camera then slowly zooms in until it settles on a medium shot emphasising the physique of the protagonist. The camera then gives an illusion of tilting downwards which would be in line with the request for the viewer to look down but in actual fact it is stationer. The illusion of the camera tilting down seems to have been perfected by the removal of part of the mise-en-scene (shower/bathroom set). Once the bathroom set has been removed, the medium shot becomes a long shot which re-establishes the location of the next ‘scene’. The camera then dolly’s to the right as it follows the actor to the right side of the boat. The camera angle is still eye-level. The camera then zooms in to a medium shot and after a few seconds zooms out again to show the actor now sitting in a horse. The clothing used in the advert ingeniously adds to the various settings portrayed in the advert. A towel is wrapped around more formal white chino’s to portray a bathroom scene. This is then removed as the advert moves to the motor yacht scene.


The advert was put together for ‘Old Spice’ in an attempt to increase/boost sales of their ‘Old Spice’ shower gel.


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