Gender stereotypes and roles have long been an issue within society. Today, people believe that gender stereotypes no longer exist, however, these preconceptions of desired gender attributes and roles strongly remain. Old Spice, a company producing men’s hygienic products, is known for its comedic advertising campaigns, focusing on references to traditionally desired masculine characteristics. Using gender stereotypes, they connect with the audience’s emotions and desires through humor and sex appeal, in order to convince them to buy Old Spice body wash. The Old Spice ad, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” represents a clear demonstration of gender stereotypes, roles and the resulting issues of sexism and inequality in society, with an emphasis on the idea of traditional masculine ideals as desirable and culturally preferred.
Traditionally, Old Spice products and commercials were directed towards elder men. By sexualizing the advertisements, Old Spice has successfully found a way to appeal to the younger, modern generation of males, while also appealing to the desires of the female audience. Looking at the target audience of this ad, I feel it appeals to the emotional needs of women by giving them an ideal image of what a “real man” should look and smell like. For example, the man in the ad directly addresses the ladies in a sexy, self-confident voice, asking them to compare their man to him. The ad makes women want a fit, attractive man like the one in the ad, who will get them “two tickets to that thing they love” or give them expensive diamonds. All of these cues relate to gender stereotypes and masculine ideals that are linked to a woman’s satisfaction and desires. Thus, women are more likely to purchase Old Spice...
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...ad is, but seems to mock the extreme desires that a woman wants from a man. In this sense, the ad uses humour to make a mockery of its own unreasonable ideals of being a “real man”.
The Old Spice advertisement, “The Man Your Man Should Smell Like” brings light to gender stereotypes and roles in society as well as the issues of sexism and gender inequality, with a focus on traditional masculine ideals as desirable. Traditionally, men were expected to work, exhibit manly traits and play the role of the “breadwinner”, while women occupied the household duties. Over the years, gender roles have converged and we are seeing more men take on duties in the home while more females are being seen in the workforce in management positions or politics. Despite this transition, traditional gender roles, stereotypes and ultimately gender inequality continue to exist in society.
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