No, Old Spice’s Latest Manly Campaign Is Not Referencing Gillette

'Men have skin, too,' says new brand mascot Deon Cole

Cole and Gabrielle Dennis star in the debut ad. Old Spice
Headshot of Patrick Coffee

Marketing to men: how hard can it be?

Given the heated conversation over Gillette’s most recent campaign and its impact on consumers, the answer may well be “harder than it looks.” But another P&G brand also has a new ad appealing to that target demographic by assuring them that it’s OK to attend to your very basic desires … for soft, clean skin.

This week, Old Spice and longtime agency of record Wieden + Kennedy introduced the world to a new brand spokesperson in the form of Deon Cole, actor and comedian best known for his roles on Black-ish and Grown-ish.

In his first appearance as The Old Spice Guy, Cole uses a traditional soap opera setup to make light of the fact that many men do struggle more consistently than their female counterparts to find the proper skin-care products.

The spot below first aired during the NFL playoffs last weekend. It’s part of a larger campaign called “Men Have Skin, Too.”

Stylistically, it is very much in keeping with W+K’s past Old Spice efforts. And its purpose is to promote the new Fresher Collection designed to help guys “elevate their grooming regimen.”

This ad illustrates, in an entertaining way, that men want the same sorts of choices long afforded to female consumers when it comes to skin care. And Old Spice will be there for them.

Matt Krehbiel, P&G Old Spice associate brand director at Procter & Gamble, said, “Deon’s big personality and quick wit are a perfect fit for the humor that fans love and expect from Old Spice.”

“You’re smellcome, man,” added Cole. Actress Gabrielle Dennis of Marvel’s Luke Cage, who co-starred in the above spot, is set to appear in two additional ads, and the campaign will also feature guest spots from former NFL player Thomas Q. Jones and comedian Keraun Harris.

A P&G spokesperson told Adweek that the strategy behind this campaign is not in any way related to that of Gillette, as the two efforts were developed separately to achieve different goals for two very different business groups.

Given how many online responses to this ad reference the razor brand, however, one may be forgiven for asking the question.

In response to a recent conservative counterpoint ad from Egard Watch Co., P&G said, “We too see and believe in the best of men … As the Gillette campaign continues, the celebration of who we are at our best will become even more obvious.”

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.