Blast from the past: Remember those TV ads for Old Spice and Brut?

Scent back: HELEN MCGURK enjoys a whiff of aftershave nostalgia and the cringe-worthy TV ads used to promote their lady-attracting qualities

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 5:54 pm
Henry Cooper instructed men to 'splash it all over' in the ad for Brut 33
Henry Cooper instructed men to 'splash it all over' in the ad for Brut 33

Remember The Old Spice surfer, set against the dramatic music of Carl Off’s O Fortuna from Carmina Burana? The white bottle with the picture of the ship was the ultimate in sophistication and what you bought at Christmas to make smoky old dad smell nice. That and the annual soap-on-a-rope, would surely de-fug the fogey.

Meanwhile Brut 33 spokesmen Henry Cooper, Barry Sheene and (dreamboat) Kevin Keegan urged men to “splash it all over”. The ad showed Cooper and Keegan in a gymnasium. “Good workout today, ‘Enry!” said Kevin. “And after a good workout … “ said Henry “… nothing beats the good smell of Brut!” said Kevin.

“Brut 33 - the deodorant with muscle!” concluded the gravelly voiceover.

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Did men actually believe the whiff of celebrity would cling to them until showertime? Probably.

Topping the risqué stakes was the Denim advert, with the well-manicured ladies’ hand slipping into the man’s shirt and the slogan: “For men who don’t have to try… too hard.” The man was manly and hairy-chested, because in those days it was cool to be hairy, to most probably drive a Datsun and eat Yorkie, the chocolate bar with the ‘it’s not for girls’ slogan.

But best and most ludicrous of all was the ad for Hai Karate, where a stereotypical “nerd” applies the aftershave and is then aggressively pursued by a female passer-by, with the catchphrase “Be careful how you use it”. Apparently the brand put ‘instruction for self defence with every bottle’ because it smelled so good, men who wore it were in constant danger.

In contrast the advert for Blue Stratos in the 1980s was the antithesis of glamour and sexiness. During what looks to be the worst date ever, a couple drive to the world’s most boring pier, get soaked in the rain and, presumably because things can’t get much worse, decide to hurl themselves into the sea, fully clothed.

Next time our olfactory trip down memory lane will tread the perfume path.