This Bleakly Comic Deodorant Ad Shows How Good-Smelling People Suffered in Olden Times

She's a witch!!

What's the best way for an all-natural deodorant brand to cut through the clutter?By burning a witch at the stake, naturally. 

Canada's Purelygreat heats things up in this wild, darkly comic web spot directed by Pete Henderson of production house Someplace Nice. The Monty Python-esque story takes place in rural England long, long ago, where two field workers discuss the possible reasons why a comely young lass smells "meadow fresh" even after toiling each day from dawn to dusk.

"Mayhap she's crafted powders, oils or wax into a natural salve to counteract the body's foul odors," one muses. 

"Or mayhap … SHE'S A WIIITCH!" the other responds. 

A wild chase ensues, complete with locals brandishing pitchforks and an axe-wielding masked executioner, ending in…

… arguably the freakiest product shot of the year—a fiery hand clutching a stick of Purelygreat.

Let's see that visceral visual one more time:

Ouch! Sweaty stuff indeed. No deodorant conceals the reek of smoldering flesh!

"This is a small client, and so breaking through was of huge importance," says Henderson. "It would have been easy for them to do the classic product shot, but they wanted something disruptive for the category." 

Alas, no human beings gets roasted in this next spot, though a peasant does go barmy from "tinkering with spices" to invent a way to neutralize odors. And there's a sly jab to Old Spice's classic "I'm on a horse" line. 

"The idea came from the product itself," Henderson says. "It's all-natural, which is a growing trend, but people are still suspicious of natural deodorants. Will they work? Are they strong enough? We imagined that in the past, when hygiene practices left a lot to be desired, the product's efficacy would have been met with a much more elevated state of suspicion. At its core, it's a product demonstration carried out in an over-the-top environment." 

"We can't imagine a better torture test than the Dark Ages," adds Purelygreat founder Philip Pellat. "If we had been around back then, the world would've smelled different, that's for sure." 

CREDITS

Client: Purelygreat Natural Deodorant

Production Company: Someplace Nice
Director: Pete Henderson
Director of Photography: Jackson Parrell
Executive Producers: Chilo Fletcher, Estelle Weir

Casting Company: Jigsaw Casting
Casting Director: Shasta Lutz

Editorial Company: Rooster Post
Editors: Chris Parkins (Witch) + Joey Whitelaw (Competitive)
Editorial Company Executive Producer: Melissa Kahn

Post Production VFX & Online Company: Fort York VFX
Post Production Creative Director: Mike Bishop
Post Production VFX Artist: James Marin
Post Production Producer: Armen Bunag
Post Production Executive Producer: Sam McLaren

Colour: Alter Ego
Colourist: Wade Odlum
Colour Executive Producer: Greg Edgar

Music & Audio Company: TA2 Sound + Music
Music & Audio Creative Director: Drew Frohmann
Composer: Oliver Wickham
Chief Engineer: Dave Clarke
Music & Audio Executive Producer: Dana Gadsden

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.