Deodorant Ads: A Lot Of Hot Air

17/11/2015 8:51 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Puneet Vikram Singh, Nature and Concept photographer, via Getty Images
Tiny drops of spray frozen in expansion.

Sometimes, I lie awake late at night, wondering if my underarms are pristine.

Or about how many women I'll be able to attract the next day.

Confused? So am I. But that's what some of the deodorant adverts -- with their over-the-top humour and promises of aphrodisiacal effects on women -- seem to think occupies a large part of our brain activity.

Here's the thing.

Deodorants are cosmetic products that almost every man or woman will (or rather need to) buy. Especially in our great nation, where the humidity and heat repeatedly toy with our sweat glands and make us drip out every bit of water in our body. However, somewhere and somehow, the current adverts for deos seem to imply that no longer are these products meant to merely keep your body odour in check. Instead, deos are packaged as tools to attract the opposite sex.

Perhaps that is the reason why my wife thwarts all my attempts to buy these new deodorants, lest they work their magic as nasally administered aphrodisiacs. I wonder if she thinks that if I spray one of these deodorants and walk out to buy some bread, a bunch of scantily-clad women might suddenly jump all over me.

"[T]hose thud sounds that you just heard -- no, it's not semi-nude women throwing themselves at me. That was a bunch of flies colliding into the double-glazed balcony doors..."

The adverts confidently assert that their products somehow transform users like me - absolutely normal men -- into super-athletic man mountains of pure awesomeness that neither women nor angels can resist. Or in some cases, even feminine pieces of furniture -- like a chaise longue or a shiny, red table. Not even my wildest dreams can conjure up such stuff.

Big brands proudly state that most of their "claim to fame" is the result of intense research and surveys. I suppose, it is safe to say that their "research" perhaps states that young (or senior) men fantasise about not just being attractive to women, but also about being irresistible to several at once. I understand that a lot of these adverts try to use humour to attract attention and boost their sales figures. And yes, they have perhaps been rather successful.

And as much as I'd like to think that the modern man may have a bit more depth than the simple "sex sells" advertising doctrine suggests, the plethora of adverts along the same lines seem to suggest otherwise.

But then again, as we all know, sex sells. Even when it isn't explicitly shown as such. Perhaps that's why a certain deodorant brand tried to break the barriers of innuendo advertising and showed a very feminine hand with finely manicured nails and a bright red nail polish gently stroking a can of their deodorant in a very suggestive manner, causing the container to apparently increase in size from a "toddler to a hormone-raging teenager" (I'm guessing that's the effect they were going for) in just a matter of seconds. Oh, and there's an explosion of mist in the end. All accompanied by a tiny line that says, "Now, in a BIGGER size."

After all, the famous adage of a certain deodorant goes, "Spray more. Get More."

And now, I shall take your leave. But not before I lavishly spray myself with half a bottle of my deodorant. So much so, that my neighbours two floors down can smell it.

Oh, and those thud sounds that you just heard -- no, it's not semi-nude women throwing themselves at me.

That was a bunch of flies colliding into the double-glazed balcony doors of my apartment.

No doubt in an attempt to swarm all over my awesomeness.

These deodorant ads, I tell you!

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