Old Spice has a new commercial that is alternately causing waves of laughter or serious cases of the creeps. Either way, “Momsong,” an ad featuring moms who get, shall we say, a little too clingy with their teenage sons, is a YouTube hit.
The commercial went on the Google-owned video site January 3. By mid-afternoon of January 6, it had already amassed more than 1.1 million views. Whether the ad will be effective in selling Old Spice body spray to teen boys is another question.
The ad opens as a handsome, athletic, shirtless teen boy sprays himself with Old Spice then casually walks out of the room, presumably off to meet a date. As he shuts the door behind him, we see that his mom has been hiding there the whole time, watching him as he grooms his semi-nude body.
She begins singing, in sort of a Broadway show-tune style, “Oh I didn’t see it coming / But it came in a can / Now my sweet son sprayed into a man.”
Before we know it, the boy and his girlfriend are driving in his convertible — and mom is dragging behind the car in a laundry basket, clinging to the rear bumper, unable to let the boy go on a date in peace.
And it just gets creepier from there.
Old Spice, which for decades marketed itself with a seafaring theme (see the vintage, 1957 commercial below), has in recent years become known for its humorous, often surreal, even downright bizarre — but attention-grabbing — commercials.
“Momsong” is no exception, except this Old Spice spot, created by the advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy and which began airing during this past weekend’s NFL football playoff games, takes the weirdness to a whole new level.
NBC’s Today Show recently ran a segment on the ad, accompanied by an online poll. The question was, “Old Spice ‘Mom Song’ Ad – Freaky or Funny?”
Granted, such internet polls are highly unscientific. But as of Monday afternoon, with just over 11,500 votes tallied, respondents were almost evenly divided, with 51 percent voting “Freaky” and 49 percent voting “funny.”
Washington Post “Style Blog” writer Caitlin Dewey, while amused by the ad, also found it puzzling.
“Old Spice is very aware of the fact that male hygiene products are frequently bought by women,” she wrote on Monday. Much of the buying for teen boys is probably done by their mothers, she added.
So how does Old Spice hope to sell its product by “casting moms as jealous, smothering, helicopter nags,” Dewey wonders.
Maybe she has a point. But we’re still trying to figure out if the new Old Spice “Momsong” ad is freaky or funny.
Check it out above and tell us what you think. All in good fun? Or just plain creepy?