Jackson Katz is one of my favorite sociologists. I was introduced to his work early on in my undergraduate career at Southwestern University in Dr. Maria Lowe's Social Patterns and Processes class. He found a way to talk about gender issues and the various concepts, frames, and manifestations in ways that are accessible, thought-provoking, and actionable. He's presenting at Town Hall tonight from 6:00 to 8:00. I won't be able to make it tonight, but encourage anybody who has the ability to check it out to do so.
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I know it’s not new, but I thought I’d show this video of a newer Old Spice commercial. Over the recent years, Old Spice has retargeted their demographic to the younger male. (It’s probably been a challenge with the wordold in the name). This commercial, and others like it have been receiving considerable attention in various publications such as GQ and Ad Age.
Why does it appeal to men?
This Old Spice commercial speaks directly to men’s insecurities about wealth, body image, prestige, power, and the fear that their “lady” might leave them for somebody who fulfills these insufficiencies. Sociologist Jackson Katz has written in length about how these insecurities often manifest into larger issues such as physical abuse and psychological problems such as the Adonis Complex. Old Spice pokes fun at these insecurities to make a comedic commercial that has gained tremendous media attention and increased its brand recognition.
Why does it appeal to women?
This commercial appeals to women by speaking directly to them. The commercial opens up by saying, “Hello Ladies…” Furthermore, Old Spice employs the use of a good-looking, realistically muscular, confident actor (and former NFL wide receiver) Isaiah Mustafa that neither intimidates nor condescends his audience, yet is able to make fun of popular discourse: money, power, and success. I personally can’t buy into the Old Spice brand, but their commercials are tapping into the psychographics and sociological findings that add relevancy to their messaging.