Patti LaBelle Loves Herself Some Old Spice … and It's Causing Some Domestic Fuss

A playful acknowledgement of woman fans

"Your mom's gotta go," a seething husband says. 

The couple is Deon Cole of Black-ish and Grown-ish and Gabrielle Denis of Black Lady Sketch Show and The Upshaws. We're teeing up for a familiar story about an overbearing mother-in-law. But in this case, the reason for Cole's grievance is pretty amusing. And the mom-in-law's clapback? Epic.

Mother-in-Law | Old Spice

We can totally see Patti LaBelle pwning a son-in-law that way. 

Old Spice's "Mother-in-Law" kicks off its "Men Have Skin Too" campaign from Wieden + Kennedy. It builds on data from Wakefield Research that found 49 percent of 1,000 women who live with a (presumably male) partner "borrowed" hair or body care products from their partners in the past six months. Almost a quarter say they do it because they are better quality or better scented.

Cross-gender domestic theft, which Dollar Shave Club also investigated a year ago, is probably an old, little-acknowledged problem, now magnified in pandemic times. Some reasons why those furtive swaps might happen: Gender is a construct, along with the assumption that men exclusively like to smell spicy, woody or citrusy, while women prefer soft, sweet and flowery notes.

Men's personal care products also tend to be less expensive. And because biological men perspire more, a case could be made that their deodorants are more effective.

Old Spice has long been a sought-after choice among women. Late last year, Bustle made a list of men's deodorants that women prefer, and Old Spice was No. 1 and No. 2. And early this year, the brand responded to a woman who tweeted about her desire to smell like Eagle Fangs by sending her a whole box set.

"Men Have Skin Too" marks a direct acknowledgement of its woman clientele in advertising. This is a chancey move, and we'll see how the story evolves as time goes by. But this work is also playing both sides: In addition to hat-tipping the ladies, it's also a direct promotion for its Fresher collection, whose ingredients pull from a lot of feminine care codes. This is a second, more tacit acknowledgment: Men also have broader preferences that may dramatically diverge from, say, Eagle Fangs.

The Fresher Collection includes Fiji-scented hand and body lotion, antiperspirant and body wash. The lotion includes coconut oil. There is also an aloe body wash that leverages the plant's long-acknowledged hydration and soothing benefits, and a shea butter body wash—"a fruity fragrance," the brand writes, "rounded out with sweet vanilla and amber." 

Very Bath & Body Works circa 1997! Which is absolutely not a judgment.

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Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is a founding contributor to Muse. She is also the co-founder of esports agency Hurrah.gg, and co-author of Generation Creation.

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