The Attempted Buy Off

About a week after I published the Tragedy Strikes at Target piece about Classic scent Old Spice body wash, a couple of funny things happened.  First, a comment was left by one “Woman who loves Old Spice,” stating how manly she thinks the smell is and how she hopes they never stop making said product.  Okay, maybe that’s not that funny.

A few days later, however, we here at the DK received comments and emails bearing the same email address.  This time, she revealed her identity as a Wieden + Kennedy employee (the ad agency who handles the Old Spice campaigns for Procter & Gamble) and went on to say that their client loved the piece and could they send me a bunch of OS swag to show their appreciation?  Sure.  Why not?  Who doesn’t like free shit?

But here’s what’s up.  1.) Why anyone over there enjoyed my post—which expressed my deep disappointment in their recent product changes and at least one time referred to them as ‘hacks’—is beyond me.  2.) Attempting to leave comments under the guise of a random reader when you’re actually involved in the promotion of a brand is LAME.  3.) These guys must think I’m 16 or something, and that a few lousy belt buckles and t-shirts can bring me back to 100% brand loyalty.

‘Fraid not, guys.

What they probably don’t know is that I’m a grown man, complete with a marriage, mortgage and a paid-off car to boot.  They probably don’t know that I hold a BA in advertising and have—when I chose to work in the field—enjoyed great successes in marketing.  I know exactly what they were trying to do: Buy me off.

Now, I don’t expect this or any of my previous rants to change P&G’s plans for the OS brand.  I understand that they need to appeal to a younger demographic to perpetuate the brand.  And I have worked in corporate America enough to know that ultimately it’s the shareholders they answer to.  But again—what they seem to have lost complete track of is the men who made the brand what it was in the first place.  And as for W+K?  They just advertise the shit, so I suppose they’re just doing their jobs.

But to both P&G and W+K, I say this: Thanks for the free stuff, but you completely miss the point.  The OS brand has become so diluted with myriad teenage-boy-smelling products (that After Hours sample made me gag, BTW) and very little left for those of us who loved what made Old Spice Old Spice.

Tell you what, P&G—this post might serve as one of the most unsavory cover letters you’ve ever read, but I’m always available as a hired gun for the right price.  You want to create a clear brand identity?  Want to appeal to males of all ages without alienating one age group or another?  Want to save on costs while upping volume by sharply focusing the ridiculously bloated line-up you know offer?  Drop me a line.  Let’s talk.

—Brent

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More Than One Way to Skin That Annoying Guy Who Talks to You in the Restroom

I found myself in the office men’s room today, one urinal down from a supervisor. He started to chat me up, which was predictably awkward. It occurred to me that I’d once read a suggested remedy for just that situation: straight-razor slash to the cheek.
I reached for my boot, only to realize I didn’t have my straight razor. Further, I realized I didn’t even own a straight razor.
It was the first time I had ever considered this. That was about an hour ago, and all I’ve been able to think about since then is how badly I need a straight-razor.
The idea of foaming up then coolly running a pearl-handled instrument of death down my cheek for an ultra-close shave suddenly seemed extremely appealing.
Plus with one of those motherfuckers in my boot, I’d be Bad Bad Leroy Brown. I’d be Mr. Blond. I’d be goddamned Stagger Lee.
Without one, I’m the guy who has to stand there with his prick in his hand while another guy with another prick in another hand stands two feet away making small talk.
I’m buying a straight razor. And some boots.

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Tragedy Strikes at Target

If it’s not obvious, I’m an Old Spice man.  Original scent thankyouverymuch.  Or Classic scent, as the marketing hacks at Procter & Gamble now call it.  os-classic-body-wash1While I enjoy quite a few different products, OS is always a solid go-to.

Old Spice Classic scent body wash is no exception.  In fact, it has arguably the best iteration of the old-school OS scent of any of the current products (deodorant, shaving cream, etc.).  It fills your bathroom with the masculine smells of confidence and adventure as you shower.  It delights the senses and emboldens the spirit, prepping you to go build that garage or save wayward babies from traffic.

That’s why I was dismayed to find that two of my local Target stores stopped carrying it.  While luckily I was able to deplete the stock of a nearby Walgreen’s, I fear that the product is going the way of the dodo.  After all, it only took P&G a year from introduction to kill off Classic scent body spray (which, BTW, makes for a glorious room freshener).

Yet another letdown.  Watching Old Spice follow the trajectories of Axe- and Tag-like manfumes marketed to adolescent boys is supremely disappointing.  Maybe that’s what required for the brand to stay viable with younger generations, but Jesus… What about us Original scent loyalists?  Are there really so few of us as to relegate our fancy to merely deodorant and aftershave?

I’ll be keeping an eye on this and reporting developments as they unfold.  Old Spice still features the product on its site, but disappearing store stock has me worried.  Fellow lovers of Original scent, please feel free to comment with your observations of local availability.

—Brent

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Let’s Start the Convo

This is a manly blog, as a commenter once noted. So I can only assume that its readers watch manly movies.
I’m sure you can all see where this is headed — the great Miller’s Crossing versus The Dirty Dozen shaving debate.
The Dozen got their adjective by refusing to shave or shower until they got the same hot water as the officers.
But in Miller’s Crossing the great Jon Polito as Johnny Caspar offers a case for shaving cold: “Ya put the razor in cold water, not hot — ’cause metal does what in cold? … It contracts. ‘At way you get a first-class shave every time.”
So, which is it folks? I’m a hot-water man myself, but I wonder if there are some cold-water fellas out there.
—Pat

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The Most Excel-lent Cartridge Shave

gillette-sensor-excel1In brilliant marketing practice, Gillette sends free razors to young men turning 18 years old.  I received a Sensor, Gillette’s latest offering at the time.  Through the years and like many guys, I occasionally ‘upgraded’ my razor and/or cartridges as Gillette introduced new models.  After the Sensor came the Sensor Excel.  Then the Mach 3.  Then the Mach 3 Turbo.  Then I stopped due to the ever-increasing ridiculousness of the multi-blade one-upsmanship between razor brands.  “Who the hell needs five fucking blades, for Christ’s sakes?” I thought.

Turns out I didn’t even need three.  I made the switch back to the twin-blade Gillette Sensor Excel recently, and I couldn’t be happier.

First, the razor handle and cartridges are simple, utilitarian and look nice.  No big honkin’ ‘ergonomic’ handles.  No batteries or switches with which to turn your razor into a fucking vibrator.  The Excel features only a simple, grippy, nicely weighted round handle, and a straightforward, low profile cartridge that actually allows you to see what the hell you’re doing.

Second, the shave is (wait for it…) excellent.  Like really excellent.  For years I figured I was getting superior shaves with various iterations of the Mach 3 because 1.) Gillette told me so, and 2.) more blades HAS to mean a better shave, right?  So wrong.  With decent technique, The Sensor Excel delivers unbeatable closeness.   It’s also quite comfortable; though Gillette equates more blades with greater comfort, I have experienced much less irritation and fewer ingrown hairs (read: none) since coming back to the Excel.

Third, Sensor Excel cartridges are reasonably affordable compared to the the latest blades.  A quick scan on the interweb indicates that a 4-pack of Fusion cartridges will set you back roughly 14 bones, or about $3.50 per cartridge.  I picked up a 25-pack of Sensor Excel cartridges at Costco for around $30, or about $1.20 per.  Do the math, kids – a Fusion cartridge is 292% more expensive.

Admittedly, I have never tried a Fusion.  Don’t care to.  Perhaps I’m missing the best cartridge shave of my life, but I doubt it.  As was my experience with the Mach 3, more blades were not better, and I hear similar complaints from others about the 5-blade monstrosities out there.  For me, I’ve got the Best a Man Can Get right in my bathroom cabinet, and she only sports a pair.  I can’t recommend the Gillette Sensor Excel enough.

—Brent

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Quick Take: Barbasol Pacific Rush

Back in Craig’s installment on Barbasol Beard Buster, he wanted to try the new Pacific Rush variety.  Since it touts a “fresh, barbasol_pac-rushoceanside” scent and is from Barbasol, it’s gotta be great, right?

Meh.

Though possibly a nice break from the same-old for some Barbasol users, the scent is nothing special.  More comparable to your garden-variety “sport” cologne – generally crisp and clean, if mildly juvenile – than the sea, Pacific Rush falls flat.

Additionally, like the Original Barbasol, Pacific Rush contains no aloe or lanolin.  Sensitive mugs used to the Soothing Aloe or Skin Conditioning varieties may experience a less-comfortable shave.

Bottom line: I applaud Barbasol’s attempt to diversify, but the superior shave and classic, masculine fragrance of Soothing Aloe (my personal fave of the Barbies) will have me reaching for the green stripes once again.

—Brent

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Pat is the Resurrection

Howdy Gang –

Wow.  Remember the Dopp Kit?  Thing got off to a rip-roaring start, only to fizzle out as quickly as it fired up.  What can we say?  We’re busy dudes.  Well, mostly Craig and Pat are busy dudes.

Regardless, thanks to Pat for resurrecting this old heap with yesterday’s post.  After a very long, tough winter here in the Mitten, I’m coming out of my shell and ready to contribute again also.  I’d wager to say Craig can find a few moments to share his latest insights as well.

Thanks again, Pat. Welcome back to the Dopp Kit, all.

—Brent

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