Rhetorical Analysis of an Advertisement

Old Spice Rhetorical Analysis

Confidence, attractiveness, sex appeal, constant eye contact; these elements depict want and need to provoke consumers to buy Old Spice body wash. Old spice has seemed to open up a strong television advertising campaign during the 2010 Super Bowl that has gained much publicity and success. With constantly changing outfits on actor and spokesperson, Isaiah Mustafa, and continually shifting backgrounds and environments, this thirty-three second long commercial most definitely keeps watchers attentive and alert causing them to want to purchase Old Spice body wash. “Hello ladies. Look at your man, now back to me. Now back at your man, now back to me.” (0:00-0:06) This is the opening line from the “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” (Title) Old Spice body wash Super Bowl commercial that aired on February 08, 2010. This line makes it known that the commercial is targeting female viewers, despite the product supposedly being a manly scented body wash. It is believed that the target audience is female viewers because they usually make the purchasing decision on hygiene products over males. It also grabs the male audience by directing it towards females. This commercial makes males sense that females are listening to it and therefore want their men to smell like Mustafa.

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This entire commercial basically says that if someone wants to smell more masculine, then they need to buy and use Old Spice body wash. The commercial most definitely capitalizes on sex appeal by having Mustafa starting out dressed in nothing but a towel standing in front of a running shower. He is muscular and confident looking throughout the commercial, making eye contact and having a dominant looking posture (shoulders back and chest out). The scene then changes and shows him on a boat in the middle of an ocean dressed in casual dress and a button up draped over his shoulders and sleeves tied around his neck. He is showing that using Old Spice body wash produces confidence and makes men appealing to women with his attractiveness and perfectly pressed clothes and flawlessly lined 5 o’clock shadow. “Anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady”. (0:24-0:27) This quote is giving the viewer unobtainable and unrealistic hopes, as well as implying that other washes make users smell like a lady. This commercial uses numerous elements that exist in other popular advertisements. The main element is sex appeal, especially since they use a well groomed, attractive man and the commercial targets the female audience. Another would be need for affiliation. Saying that one will smell more masculine using Old Spice and “smell like a lady” (0:27) using the competitor’s brand. It also has a sense of need for attention in the same way as need for affiliation. It signifies that using Old Spice body wash will get men noticed by women. On the other hand, this advertisement is not entirely based on sex appeal and masculinity. It flashes from the bathroom to him being on a boat in an ocean. It also shows him on a horse by the beach. This gives the viewer a sense of happiness that comes along with being at the beach and by the ocean, and even shows a sense of need to escape. There is even some need for guidance in this commercial with Mustafa speaking generally to the women, he is indirectly encouraging the male audience to go out and purchase this product so their partner will be attracted to them even more.

This is proven by him being the definition of a perfect man, “What’s in your hand? Back at me, I have it; it’s an oyster with two tickets to that thing you love. Look again, the tickets are now diamonds.” (0:17-0:24) He is willing to figuratively sacrifice for the woman with “two tickets to that thing you love”. (0:22) He may not want to go to something that she loves and he hates, but he will go with her at his expense, making him a model male partner. There is no music throughout the entire commercial, only ambient noise; running water during the shower scene and waves crashing on the beach during the “I’m on a horse” (0:28) scene. This gives the viewer a sense of peace and tranquility that comes with the sound of waves crashing. There exists quiet background noise and no music so the viewer hears and stays attentive to what Mustafa is saying and his actions, which is also showed by his constant eye contact and rapid dialogue. Once again these commercials attempt to show that Old Spice has the power to allow a person to believe that anything is possible when using the product, when in reality it is just a liquid gel product that gets a person clean in the shower. Sex appeal, confidence, and comedy elements are very clearly portrayed in this Super Bowl commercial. Old Spice causes people to believe that it is possible to look and feel muscular and look and feel confident from smelling like a man with the actors they choose to portray their product and the style of commercials they produce and show on television.

Works Cited
“{HD} Old Spice Commercial Compilation {Great Commercials}” Youtube. Youtube. 2 May 2013. Web. 4 Sept. 2013.
“Man Your Man Could Smell Like” Oldspice.com. Old Spice. Web. 8 Feb. 2010. 18 Sept. 2013.

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