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Old Spice invades Bounce, Charmin ads

This may be the funniest ad campaign to hit in a while. Two new commercials begin like ads for boring household products, until they are abruptly interrupted by a shirtless and terrifying Terry Crews, a former NFL’er and the latest Old Spice pitchman.

The ads open like tranquil, daytime TV commercials aimed at moms. Then suddenly, enter Crews. Old Spice Body Spray, he screams, is “SO POWERFUL IT SELLS ITSELF IN OTHER PEOPLE’S COMMERCIALS!” Once the surprise hits, the ads try to pummel you into a giggle fit with screwball dialogue, goofy visual gags, and some well-timed explosions.

Here’s one that begins like a commercial for Bounce Dryer Bar, some sort of fabric softening block you stick to the inside of your dryer:

And here’s another that starts like an ad for Charmin Freshmates, a pre-moistend toilet paper:

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By now you may have realized that Old Spice, Bounce, and Charmin are all Procter & Gamble brands. Being corporate siblings probably made it easier to integrate these brands in this very unconventional way, but it’s still kind of impressive that somebody got all the stars to align.

I especially love that they singled out Charmin Freshmates, which is literally an ass wipe, and one of modern times’ greatest advertising challenges.

The commercials “will begin airing the first week of February,” a P+G press release says. No word on if that means “Super Bowl,” but I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of these run this during the game. It’s perfect for football. (Update, 2/6: The ads did not air during the Super Bowl.)

The campaign featuring Crews actually began back in January, and one other spot has already aired. It’s called “Blown Mind”, and it’s also pretty funny:

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Who created this campaign?

Wieden+Kennedy Portland
Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff, Susan Hoffman
Creative Directors: Craig Allen, Jason Bagley
Copywriters: Andy Laugenour, Nathaniel Lawlor
Art Director: Croix Gagnon
(Credits via Ads of the World)

Who signed off on it?

Josh Talge, Old Spice Brand Manager — and probably a small army of other brand managers, marketing brass and lawyers.

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Bonus: The old commercial-within-a-commercial trick! Where have I seen that before? Ah yes, the Energizer Bunny, 1991!

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Also: Follow @BreakingCopy on Twitter, where I’ll be live-Tweeting Super Bowl ads on Sunday, with a copywriting spin.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising

3 comments

  1. David says:

    The energizer commercial-within-a-commercial thing, as I recall, was originally aired as a pair of “bookend” commercials. That is, you’d have a normal, obvious energizer commercial, ending with that rabbit “going and going…” and then there’d be an unrelated (real) commercial or two for some other products. And then there’d be the fake commercial where the rabbit would pop up again, implying that he’s been “going and going…” all this time.

    Eventually they stopped airing the first half of the bookend, once everyone was familiar with the concept, and just ran a bunch of second-half ads.

    The other famous “bookend” commercial I’m reminded of is Excedrin’s. It wasn’t a commercial-within-a-commercial, but was similarly clever. The first commercial ended with a headache sufferer taking Excedrin, and then several unrelated ads later we’d see her again, cured by Excedrin.

    So I half suspect the Superbowl ads above may air as bookends with the “Blown Mind” or similarly straightforward ad.

    • Daryl Lang says:

      David, I remember the same thing about the Energizer ads running as bookends. But it’s been a while. I wasn’t even sure I was remembering the concept correctly until I found them online. I love that there are people who still have tapes of this stuff and upload it to YouTube.

  2. Jeff McKown says:

    You had me at “literally an ass wipe.” Ah, the gift of laughter. Thank you.

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