Deodorant and Desire

Photo: Old Spice

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The commercials during this year’s Super Bowl were mostly dull and forgettable (and the pro-life ad from Focus on the Family, which we blogged about, turned out to be mild, ambiguous, and even kind of funny). Many of them were passingly creative attempts to capitalize on some pop cultural flavor of the moment like Auto-Tune. Rest assured, however, some ad agencies are still making advertisements that raise the quick sell to a form of compelling, self-aware folk art.

Yes! I’m using a lot of descriptive words, and I’m using them to write about “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” a new ad from Old Spice with which I’ve become obsessed. The ad is a fast-talking, absurdist shell game (“Look at your man. Now back to me. Now back at your man. Now back to me.” “Look down—back up. Where are you?” “What’s in your hand? Back at me.” “Look again!”). It parodies the huckster’s art of distracting and disorienting the mark, and takes place in a psychological landscape where objects of desire (ripped, shirtless hunks, tickets to “that thing you like,” diamonds) and settings (bathrooms, boats, beaches) have no permanence—fundamentally changeable elements in the illusory universe of want. Also, the guy in it is really hot. Just watch:  

 

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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