Oh, for the good old days when Procter & Gamble made incredibly boring, incredibly effective ads! If this latest debacle from Old Spice is any indication of the quality of the decision-making going on at P&G these days, this might be a good time to short the stock.
(Legal disclaimer: I’m far from a investment expert, but I do know horrendous advertising when I see it. . . and, trust me, this ad is horrendous.)
For starters, this ad is about as visually appealing as the head-rotating, green vomit-spewing scene in “The Exorcist.” Secondly, the ad makes a big swing-and-a-miss at humor. I realize the ad isn’t targeting 58-year-olds (although I’d be shocked if anyone under 58 has ever used Old Spice), but I can’t imagine that any reasonably conscious person of any age would find this ad funny. Compared to the moms in this spot, Mr. Whipple was freaking hysterical–the equivalent of Louis C.K., Chris Rock and Jon Stewart rolled into one.
Worse yet, the spot never shows the product being applied, so if you have the misfortune of gazing upon this spot and the good fortune to not be able to hear the audio, you’ll likely have no clue as to what the hell is being advertised. While no doubt millions of people will recall having seen this commercial at least once (twice if you count when it replays in their mind in the form of a 2:00 am nightmare), I suspect that very few will ever know that Old Spice was the product advertised.
Which, come to think of it, may be the closest thing to a silver lining that this dark, disturbing cloud has for the company that once was considered the world’s smartest consumer products marketer.