Adverts Across Time & Rhetoric

Whenever a product comes out, the company associated with it tries to have their marketing division do their best to create advertisements to not only make the public aware of the product, but they also do this to increase sales. Normally the advertisements use logos to appeal to the needs of the consumer, but will also use pathos to evoke an emotional need for the product. Nowadays, ethos is also used, probably to a greater extent than either of the other two, by  using a celebrity or someone consumers would want to be like as a selling point for the product. A product that has done very well using this last approach is Old Spice; let’s take a look at this brand of grooming products and how it’s grown over the years since it’s production.

Old Spice was manufactured initially by the Shulton Company

The original Old Spice from 1937.
The original Old Spice from 1937.

founded in 1934 by William Lightfoot Schultz. Surprisingly, the first ever product in this line of grooming tools was not for men; it was a product called Early American Old Spice, and it was made for women in 1937. The first male product didn’t come along until 1938. Since the product developed around a colonial theme, it used a lot of sailing ships in its trademark imagery and original advertisements. The Shulton Company later sold the Old Spice brand to Procter & Gamble in June of 1990.

While they may have had other commercials that raised awareness of their product over the years, 2010 was the year that Procter & Gamble began to use a huge appeal with ethos when they got ex-NFL stars and actors, Isaiah Mustafa and Terry Crews in their commercials for Old Spice. Mustafa, also known as “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” and the “Old Spice Guy,” is the suave voice that persuades women to buy Old Spice for their significant others so that the ladies can hope to have men like Mustafa as their other half.

This commercial aired prior to the 2010 Superbowl XLIV and even though it wasn’t during this big sports event, it was one of the most talked about commercials from that time. The kairos for the commercial was right, as it came at a time where a focus on manly endeavors and competition was high. Thanks to this commercial and the other commercials produced by Old Spice, the company has received much more widespread attention on social media, to the point of becoming the “#1 Most Viewed Sponsored YouTube Channel.”

Crews is the polar opposite of Mustafa, as his commercials for Old Spice are over the top and very loud, representing the wild side of Old Spice products.

Initially, my first reaction to Crews’ commercials was confusion at the number of crazy things happening in the ad; however, once I found out that the ads were being directed by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, I realized why these ads were full of so much tomfoolery.

In a recent campaign started in 2015 for two Old Spice products, “Timber” and “Bear Glove,” the commercials actually feature both of these men, battling for Old Spice superiority.

While I’m not a user of Old Spice myself, I can see how these advertisements work. Many women everywhere love Isaiah Mustafa, and everyone loves Terry Crews. Both of these men are physically fit and attractive; Mustafa is smooth and calming, while Crews is humorous and lovable. They are both actors and are great examples of what society believes to be the ideal man that every woman should have and every man should be.

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