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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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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