Over the weekend I saw what I think is one of the most effective commercial campaigns I have ever seen while watching some of the NFL playoff games. Old Spice aired its 60 second “Momsong” which was absolutely hilarious not just in a quirky way reminiscent of Monte Python humor or a Pee Wee’s Playhouse episode, but in a social metaphorical one. It actually brilliantly points to a central problem in modern “Western” society and dares an entire demographic to challenge the premise. That challenge will likely sell a lot of the Old Spice brand of deodorant, aftershave and soap. “Momsong” deals specifically with the pain that women experience watching the little boys they spent and sacrificed so much for—growing up, and having to hand away that care to another woman—a much younger woman. For most women, this is an epic crisis that they never fully get over and most will take that pain to their graves. It is the primary cause of overeating and mental disorders centering on female neurosis in that age bracket and is a major contributor to many modern social problems. The commercial had my wife and I laughing hard for a good part of the weekend and now several days later it is still funny. Have a look for yourself.
I think being a mom is the most important job in the world. There is nothing which more properly sets in motion the consciousness of a human being than the contributions of a mother. I don’t care if it is the CEO of a company, or the president of a nation—being a mom is the number one job in order of importance among all professions in the human race. There isn’t even a close second except perhaps fatherhood. However, I have watched more moms destroy their children right out of the gate because they held on too long to the lives of their little babies when they should have played a role in the launching of their lives. I say such a thing as I have walked two of my own children down the aisle of marriage—so I know something about this subject matter. Thinking back on my own youthful years where I was the gravity well that so many other rebellious young men grabbed on to so to escape their overbearing mothers, I deliberately provoked those moms into occasional melt downs to pay them back for what I saw them doing to my friends. One mother of a very close friend hated me so badly that she encouraged her son to hang out with known drug addicts and sexual perverts rather than Rich Hoffman who was symbolic of a virtual devil to their neurotic hearts. And this particular woman wasn’t the only one. In many homes all across Southern Ohio as there still is, was a virtual voodoo doll of “yours truly” made by mothers who saw me as the single greatest threat to their happiness because I encouraged their children to rebel away from the safety of their safe embrace and to leap boldly out into the danger of the world. I literally watched many moms behave not far off the mark of that Old Spice commercial—I watched more literal melt downs not much different from the mom who floated out of the couch at the end—across the floor and sorrowfully back into her seated position to conclude the commercial with a pathetic whimper. Typically it is another female that provokes this reaction from mothers—but in my case it was my personality who delivered these overly coddled young boys to women through my charisma, fast driving, and overly perilous lifestyle that made me public enemy number one in their book. And those emotions have lasted for decades, and nobody suffered more than my own mom who was very loving, very caring, and put a lot of effort into her thankless job. For that reason I rebelled harder than any room full of testosterone driven virulent males. The situation was so bad that literally every friend I had male and female behaved like the mothers in the Old Spice commercial to some extent or another. As over-the-top as that commercial appeared—I have seen firsthand the same behavior from moms of almost every person I grew up knowing.
My reasoning for provoking these poor mothers was not to torture them into mental breakdowns—which some of them actually submitted to. Even back then I had a very clear understanding of what I was doing and what my social role was in the greater society. As advanced as American culture appears technologically, we are very primitive psychologically and I knew of other cultures considered primitive that had very specific rituals designed to deal with this specific problem—the initiation into manhood. Girls do not have this problem as they become literal women the moment they develop breasts and begin having their menstrual cycle. Boys to men do not have this coming of age moment—a ritual which announces to them that they have arrived to manhood. Many cultures have circumcision rituals to mimic the menstrual cycle in women to allow young boys to have a psychological crisis which allows the mind to accept a new social role as a man. Other cultures have rituals where the women play a role of coddling the young boys until other men of a tribe dressed as monsters steal the boys from their mothers and take them away from their homes terrifying them into manhood. The message to the boys is that your mothers cannot save you, you must save yourself. The introduction of a crisis launches the boys into manhood and after the ritual the other men of the tribe treat the boy as an equal warrior.
In American culture—especially with the introduction of feminism there is no ritual for young boys. Young girls of course still have their menstrual cycles but boys are left to create their own manhood initiation and by default it is sexual experience which determines the men from the boys. Once a boy has sexual intercourse he can then proclaim to other males that he has arrived to manhood. It is this ritual that the Old Spice commercial is tapping in to. Mothers know that their little boys are attempting to break away from their loving embracing by “bagging and tagging” a young female who will then become the new female in his life—away from mother. Since the mother often these days does not have a loving relationship with her husband—a real male of her own sense feminism has taught her that she doesn’t need one—women have by default overly coddled their sons to fulfill their own maternal needs.
Women desire to love and be loved and in a healthy relationship with a husband—they can find that love which they desperately yearn for. Without that love, they become miserable specimens often prematurely becoming old, ugly, and bitter—they become the moms in the Old Spice commercial. Feminism has told women that they can substitute a man in their lives with a career—but they can’t. Women in the work place are still looking for love wherever they can find it, whether it be in an office stockroom, on top of a copying machine, or in a hotel lobby while traveling on the road with perfect strangers away from their wives. The career woman seeks such sexual conquests knowing they are stealing away men from their wives—their new mothers—and it touches a spot of joy lacking from their lives. But once the cloths go back on and the woman goes through a decade or two of these kinds of relationships they are emptier shells of people than the mother who cleaved desperately to her son out of fear of having something in her life to live for.
Old Spice is doing what I have done to young men and mothers for most of my life—daring moms not to be so narcotic, and young men to shake off their moms by buying such a rebellious product. I think the marketing is brilliant because it is tapping into a primal urge that is completely ignored in modern society—and is literally holding down our entire worldly culture. I never saw my rebellious actions as harmful to the mothers of my friends. I saw it as saving them. In some cases those women reconnected with their husbands after pouring their attention into their sons for over 15 years—ignoring the poor chaps—and out of anger against me—dusted off their relationships. Having a calculated crisis is much different from a crisis that happens without your control. I see the need for a ritual that delivers boys to men not just for their sake, but for the mothers who love them—for their own psychological preservation so that they can become productive grandparents and healthy contributors to society. I have seen many women carry grudges against the wives of their sons for decades because the moms never forgive the new women for how they wrecked their lives by tragically stealing away from them the object of their love—their sons.
The Old Spice commercial is brilliant in that they are even attempting to define this problem. When I first saw it I knew that somewhere at the Old Spice marketing department was a guy or a group people who understood this crises the way I did and it brought a smile to my face. The commercial will certainly help sales for Old Spice. But it will also bring to light a problem that is as old as time itself—the crisis of a mother and her sons and the need of all males to understand when, how, and why they must become men. Moms need to be a part of that process—not a hindrance and to that point—Old Spice has contributed not only a great commercial worthy of a Superbowl, but a work of art that speaks to a central problem in our very confused society.