• Mon, Jan 6 - 2:00 pm ET

Hilariously Creepy Old Spice Ads Show Moms Lamenting Their Kid’s Sexuality

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 8.02.40 AMI don’t know a whole lot of moms who feel amazingly sad at the idea of their teen sons becoming sexual beings. I mean, sure, we worry about them being safe and responsible and engaging in consensual acts, hopefully after they have moved out of our basements, but beyond that, gross. I don’t even like to see my own son kissing his girlfriend because ew, I changed his diapers. Which I think is the underlying message of these new Old Spice ads which show a lot of moms being terribly sad their little boys are all grow’d up, and display this sadness by stalking them and singing a sad song while their sons make out with girls.

Do you know who we can blame for this? Old Spice for spraying our son into a man. It’s pretty funny and cute but it also makes it seem like moms are incapable of seeing our sons as separate from us, and that their new found sexuality is due to smelling like whatever Old Spice smells like, football and um, other man stuff. Spice? Dirty laundry? Forgetting to take the trash out? Xbox? Is that what teen boys smell like?

I find the line “When our sons have fun with women and misbehave” pretty problematic, because what exactly does that mean? I don’t think any mom would consider holding hands or kissing misbehaving, which makes it seem like when the commercial ends the sons are getting up to more nefarious deeds of some variety. That involve a lot more things than just wearing Old Spice.

So I find the ad cute and kinda creepy and funny, but I doubt most moms can relate. But maybe that’s not the target audience anyway. It probably should be though, because who do they think is buying the deodorant and body spray?

(Image: you Tube)

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  • Kay_Sue

    The most problematic part for me is that it seems to underline the idea that, as mothers, we don’t have a separate identity outside of our kids. If these women had a life outside of being a mother, they would probably be, at the least, not anxious over their sons’ budding sexuality, and at best, glad to see that they raised someone capable of having meaningful and hopefully fun interactions with others (not that I want to think about it either!).

    Instead, Mom is again portrayed as a one-dimensional character for the sake of advertising, and so, what will she do when her little chicks leave the nest? I know the brevity is important for commercials, but I just really bristle at that particular stereotype for some reason.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      ” glad to see that they raised someone capable of having meaningful and hopefully fun interactions with others” and using deodorant?

    • Kay_Sue

      I have heard tell that having boys that are willing to use deodorant at that age is quite the accomplishment.

      Having not made it to that stage myself as a mom of boys, I can’t speak from personal experience yet, but God, I hope I can manage it!!! ;)

    • Pumplestilskin

      Oddly enough, I can’t get my 11 year old daughter to shower or wear deodorant without a huuuge fight. She offers to wear her hair in a ponytail to school to avoid it, completely ignoring the fact that she stinks because hormones are a bitch. Her 9 year old brother though, asks to shower every day and wanted deodorant in his stocking

    • Kay_Sue

      This is actually reassuring. Maybe my kids will be the same way?

      My middle sister was like that for a long time. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the Gabriel Iglesias Aloha, Fluffy! special, but my mom had to do to her what he describes doing to his stepson–there was deodorant everywhere, all over our house and car, for the longest time, so that whenever Mom caught her without, she could apply it then and there.

    • Zettai

      My older sister forced deodorant on me in 3rd grade after an outing with her friend. Her friend had kept saying, “It smells like onions cooking around here…”

    • Pumplestilskin

      She claims that she doesn’t need it, but it’s bad, really , really bad. We had a, both of us breaking down crying, fight over it one morning. I started puberty young. My mom was an older mom, had raised 4 kids through puberty before me and was certain I was too young to have started puberty yet. I got teased in school for smelling and even though I asked for deodorant she told me I was “too young”. She also wouldn’t let me shower in the morning, only the night before, because it took up too much time and she didn’t think I needed it yet. Finally my dad, who is a lot younger than my mom and I think probably more observant of these things, told her, “she stinks, buy the girl some deodorant, some fun shower stuff and wake her up a half hour earlier for chrissakes!” Once she realized I was growing up she was right on board with letting me know all I needed to know. I always promised myself that my kids would not suffer the embarrassment I did for those months though. So I will drag her bodily into the shower if I have to and I will sit on her to put deodorant on her myself, lol

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      And, as a teacher of 11 year olds, I can tell you this is really common and I love you so much for fighting that fight!

    • Pumplestilskin

      Lol, on her first day of school she brought home a letter and supply list from the teacher. One of the starred, important items was deodorant for gym days. Apparently the gym teachers have a deal with the 6th grade teachers to make it mandatory that they use deodorant after class. I was told the classrooms were ripe last year and gym is at 8:15

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      My God, I shall tell the PE teachers to make it mandatory. I mean, the recommend it, but I don’t think it’s enforced….hmmmmm.

    • pineapplegrasss

      Our sons teacher sent a note home ‘please have you child come to school wearing deodorant everyday’ LOL
      OMG I hope every kid got one.

    • Michelle Pittman

      depends on the kid…my 10 year old is obsessed — he wears deodorant, showers regularly, always brushes his teeth and loves shoes…my 12 almost 13 year old? i’m lucky if he remembers to brush his teeth on a daily basis and have to remind him to wear deodorant and you know, shower…

    • Kay_Sue

      I could see this dynamic based on their personalities even now–my younger son would be the one with the hygiene phobia, though. My older son is too dramatic to accept being smelly (I hope).

    • Andrea

      So far, I have quite a bit of success when it comes to not reeking like an old jock strap. I think it has something to do with girls. If WE think they smell gross, you can bet that teenage girls will think so too and for sure ain’t nobody wants that!

    • Ricardo Aguilera

      Meh it’s not better then nearly all advertisement portraying men as incompnent idiots who will burn the house down and kill the kids of the mother isn’t around….kind of nice to see at least 1 unfavourable ad towards women.

    • Kay_Sue

      Never said it was. Sexism and stereotypes are no fun for anyone that’s stuck under them. My husband’s an incredibly competent man, and that includes as a husband and father. It’s sad to see men portrayed otherwise so often with no one really even commenting on it.

  • Harriet Meadow

    I don’t find them cute and creepy and kind of funny. Just creepy. I was terrified when I first saw one of these commercials. Yikes. And ew.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      they are stalking their sons because PENIS

    • Ricardo Aguilera

      What do you man by “safe and consensual”….that line almost makes it seem like your saying moms are worried their sons are being safe and not raping. It’s a roundabout way of saying it but the intent is clear unless I’m misreading you?

    • Tinyfaeri

      I gotta say, I agree. I didn’t even find social commentary in there about the relationship between mothers and sons. Just, um, ew.

  • Lackadaisical

    Good luck, marketing department, on convincing us that old spice isn’t the choice of grandads. Perhaps they could try to reclaim lily of the valley from nans next. Of course I will now look mean and draft if the stereo types of scents and brands are different in the US than the UK, which they are bound to be. Over here all boys smell of farting and lynx (called axe or some such thing in the US I think) .

    Obviously this possessive mum stereotype is not incompatible with the worried about single son / lack of grandkids mum who sets you up with dull ugly women in sitcoms everywhere, even though they are opposites. We mothers must be evil considering our comic potential.

    • Pumplestilskin

      I was with a friend of mine shopping this Christmas, her son and his friend, who lives with her, are both the cool kid jock type, she bought them both Original Old Spice, she said they love it, I was surprised too. Maybe because it’s different, most of the boys around here do wear Axe, which is an assault to the nasal passages

    • Andrea

      I will take axe over the noxious toxic fumes that are their natural stench though. Hormones are a bitch.

    • Kay_Sue

      My husband has an Axe scent that he wears for date nights and/or when he wants to get lucky.

      The first bottle came in a set his ex wife got him for Christmas from their daughters, and it went unused for months, because Axe–bleck! Then he ran out of body wash one day, and used it in a pinch. He sat beside me on the couch and that was it.

      That shit smelled like chocolate. Like honest to God chocolate. I couldn’t stop smelling him and smelling him led to other things and now he prays to the god that is Dark Temptation when he’s feeling particularly randy…

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      I seriously overheard two of my (11 yr.) male students talking before break. The one was kind of admiring how all of the sudden, girls are interested in the other. The new ladies man said to his friend, I kid you not: “I know. It’s weird. All these girls just started liking me after I got the Axe!’ Like the smell of Axe around the school wasn’t bad enough before, pretty sure it’ll be unstoppable now.

      Edit: But it smells waaaaay better than no deodorant..

    • Alexandra

      yea, I gotta say, my husband smells good but I do have a guilty pleasure lurve of the Axe-smell :) maybe it reminds me of when I was young and all the boys wore it and I actually wore makeup and wasn’t 200 lbs of pregnant old lady LOL

    • Bethany Ramos

      My 60 yo stepdad wears Old Spice every damn day, so every time I smell it in another context, it’s like NOOO. It’s fine for him, I suppose. :)

    • Lackadaisical

      My grandad, who would have been 90 by now, did too. For me it should be accompanied by the smell of tobacco and peppermints.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I feel that way about english leather.

    • anon

      They have a whole new line of Old Spice scents with names like “Denali Fresh”. You know, like Axe.

    • me

      My husband wears olds spice. I always founded it oddly comforting, until I realized my moms ex, who was my dad figure in Jr high, wears it. So does my fil.Cue the we. I’d still find it more awkward if he wore ass, pardon me, axe like my little bro

    • Harriet Meadow

      My Dad wears Old Spice, and I loooove the smell of it. So when my husband started wearing it at first I was like “that smells yummy” but then I was like, “Wait, you smell like my dad and that’s weird.” :/

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I recently wore some lily of the valley from Penehligans and I LOVED it. I am seriously thinking of buying some. haha. I love old lady fragrance.

  • Zettai

    Saw this yesterday and cracked up. It’s definitely a caricature, but a lot of Mother In Laws act like their grown men are still their little boys, so I get where it came from.

  • LiteBrite

    I saw that ad yesterday. DH was like “What the fuck is THAT about?”

    Although as someone else said, there are a heck of a lot of MILs who have this mindset, so I too get where it’s coming from. I still think it’s creepy, though.

  • Momma425

    I have a girl, but I can imagine that if I had a boy:
    -I would NOT want to think about him having sex (come to think of it, I like to think of my parents, siblings, and all other family members to be people with barbie/ken parts and really not go into more detail than that)
    -BUT I would be thrilled about him wearing deodorant. I might not have a teenage boy, but I used to date teenage boys (when I was a teenage girl) and they smell like football practice, armpits and socks. Deodorant ROCKS!!!

  • anon

    I have a 20 year old son. I cracked up over the commercial – because at least part of me took it to be like Axe – you can SMELL him before you can SEE him. BTW – see this for a GREAT take on Axe and tween/teen boys and what happens when a woman wears it: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/10/axe_men_s_body_spray_what_happens_when_a_woman_wears_it_for_a_week.html