Battle of the man scents

Men's personal-care brands gear up for an unprecedented fight to be crowned the alpha aroma

Published March 8, 2010 9:22PM (EST)

Can you smell the aroma of manufactured manliness? Because there is an epic, and pungent, battle underway in the men's personal care aisle. Today, Advertising Age declares that we are seeing "the biggest array of product launches for men in nearly a decade and maybe ever." The major competitors in this pissing contest: Procter & Gamble, which is responsible for Old Spice and Gillette, and Unilever's new line, Dove Men+Care (apparently a plus sign equals masculinity).

Chances are you're already familiar with Old Spice's latest offering --namely Isaiah Mustafa, the charming star of its viral "I'm on a horse" ad, which bashes "lady-scented body wash" and orders dudes to "smell like a man, man." The spot is full of satire and swagger -- a winning combo, especially for men whose choice of personal armor is ironic cockiness. And as AdAge notes, "An ad for Gillette's body wash, with a fairly obvious proxy for the new Dove product in the shower, pointedly says, 'Just because it says it's for men doesn't mean it is.'" Nyah-nyah, Gillette just said you smell like a woman! Whatchu gonna do about that, Dove?

Nothing, judging from the Dove "Manthem," which you'll find below. Above all else, a Dove man is comfortable. Really, really comfortable. He doesn't need to thump his chest to prove his manliness -- that's what his wife, three kids and home are for, it seems. He's succeeded as a man (read: a pro-creator and provider) and so he can calmly retreat to his bathroom sanctuary and lather himself with an unpretentious body wash that doesn't scream "FOR REAL MEN ONLY." He is settled in his domesticated bliss and doesn't need a damn horse, OK?

I don't know about you, but I am fascinated by these dueling masculine identities. Bring on the advertainment.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

MORE FROM Tracy Clark-Flory

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Advertising Broadsheet Love And Sex