Proving that it’s the men’s grooming brand most committed to advertising weirdness, Old Spice has tapped Swedish action star Dolph Lundgren as the star of its new ads.
Not the current Lundgren, mind you, who is a 60-something director. Instead, Old Spice is featuring the majestically chiseled armpits of the 1980s Dolph, using deep-fake video technology to pull the spoof off.
The first ad, called “Hang On,” spotlights Lundgren as he tries to save a fellow action star who dangles below him. Too bad Lundgren forgot his deodorant, drenching the poor guy in sweat. (That ad is scheduled to air during the NBA All Star telecast.)
And in “Tied Up,” Lundgren has to defuse a bundle of explosives while stinking up the set.
Most of Old Spice’s target audience weren’t even born when the Swede’s career took off, first bodyguarding for sweetheart Grace Jones, then battling Sly Stallone in “Rocky IV” and emerging as He-Man in “Masters of the Universe.”
“The ‘80s and ‘90s are having a moment,” says Matt Krehbiel, Old Spice vice president at Procter & Gamble. Lundgren’s “throwback deep-fake look will bring them back to the pinnacle of action movies.”
And while Old Spice’s young audience may know him from his more recent roles, including appearances in “The Expendables” franchise and “Aquaman,”the casting also makes a nice fit for the brand message.
“His legendary roles span decades, which is not different from the ridiculously long-lasting sweat and odor protection that comes from using Old Spice’s new Sweat Defense Dry Spray Antiperspirant,” says Krehbiel.
Old Spice, owned by Procter & Gamble, says deep-fake Dolph marks “the first time the technology has ever been used in such a complex action sequence.” Krehbiel says Lundgren was very involved in the creative process.
The spots, from Wieden + Kennedy, are just the latest in the brand’s efforts to push the envelope for gimmicky marketing. Last month, for example, it launched what is says was the first-ever scented NFT during a live Twitch Stream, which it named “Enter the Smell.”
Users collaborated to create the giant artwork, which was then scented with its Swagger fragrance and given away to a lucky Twitch user. It came with a giant schnozz helmet fitted with a VR screen that allowed them to view the NFT. (The nostrils on the helmet function as deodorant holsters.)
Krehbiel says the brand is “working hard to reach our guys where they are, while also interjecting Old Spice into their interests and relevant conversations.”
On a less fragrant note, late last year, Procter & Gamble voluntarily recalled several Old Spice and Secret aerosol spray antiperspirants, due to the presence of benzene, which causes cancer.