Has W+K Portland lost the plot with Old Spice?

Old Spice was the campaign that finally seemed to persuade the big bucks sector of the client world that Wieden+Kennedy Portland could do it, especially as it won loads of plaudits for Procter & Gamble, not usually a driver of things creative. P&G isn’t Nike, after all.

W+K followed the hugely successful Mustafa Isaiah ‘I’m the man your man could smell like’ with a campaign featuring a fairly funny nerd. Now it’s produced this, featuring NFL star Greg Jennings, which doesn’t seem to have too many fans at all. It’s the start of NFL, so maybe it’s a one-off..

My friend George Parker, that prince among ad critics, isn’t impressed. Here’s what George thinks.

Now they’ve screwed up Old Spice with the new Greg Jennings fuck up featuring midgets in dog suits and wankers dressed as trees. It’s fucking dumb. Even worse, the way Jennings holds the can of Old Spice shit… Front and center, mid screen, in your face. The same way men’s toiletries have insulted audiences for fucking years. No doubt in the next spot, he splashes it on, and the dog fucks his leg. Jesus…

And George is usually an admirer of W+K.

Is he right? All agencies that produce a brilliant, high profile campaign for a humungous client know that trouble lies around the corner (even though the cheques keep coming in). More people get involved, they all think the ads can be even better – or just as good – even as the brief begins to resemble a philosophical disquisition. Brilliant is a tap to be turned on.

Wel there you go. I actually found Mustafa a tad irritating.

But it makes the point.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.


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    Just want to make sure readers appreciate that my comments do NOT apply to W+K, London under the calm and steady hand of ace boozer, Neil Christie. I fully expect them to do a splendid job on Tesco. “3 Cans of baked beans for the price of 2” will be delivered in ways never before thought possible by the Adverati. As with Sir Frank, fame and fortune will come to Sir Neil, who will eventually join Sir Frank on the members terrace at Lords sipping vintage Bollinger out of shell like tea cups. Meantime, W+K, Portland, will bring back the Velveeta blacksmith and his “Iron Skillet” to excite the housewives of America as he services them atop his mighty anvil. Isn’t advertising fucking great?
    Cheers/George “AdScam” Parker

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    Cheers, George. I expect Her Majesty will be popping my knighthood in the post any day now. But rest assured, you won’t catch me on the members’ terrace at Lords; I’ll still be down the pub with a pint of lager.