Mitchum’s Olfactory Message

If your body odor makes a baby cry, it’s time to switch. That’s the pitch from Mitchum men’s deodorant, whose first major ad campaign in nearly 10 years broke on Saturday.

Deutsch in New York created the TV-only campaign, which includes two 30-second spots and two 15-second commercials that carry the tagline, “Strongest ingredients. Maximum protection.”

In one 30-second spot, a man cuddles an infant, who only ceases crying when held at arm’s length. Each time the man pulls the baby close, the crying resumes. “For a deodorant antiperspirant that won’t fail you, switch to Mitchum,” a male voiceover says.

In another 30-second spot, a man wearing a shirt and tie looks into his refrigerator and thinks something has spoiled. With a puzzled expression, he sniffs and discards each item, unable to determine what offends him.

One of the 15-second spots shows a man in the middle of an ascending escalator, with a crowd far ahead of him and a crowd far behind. Another has an executive enter- ing a taxicab. After a few seconds, the driver hurriedly gets out, looking offended.

“We’re not accusing people of not using deodorant,” Deutsch managing partner and executive creative director Kathy Delaney said. “We’re just saying yours might not be doing the job.”

Traditional ads in the category emphasize confidence and are “fake, lifestyle” approaches, she said. “We wanted to show something real but funny,” Delaney added. The “effi cacy” positioning the Revlon-owned brand used in its last effort in 1993, however, remains.

Spending on the new effort was undisclosed, but according to CMR, Mitchum deodorant spent $1.2 million on media in 1993 and $2.5 million the year before. By contrast, in 2001, Procter & Gamble’s Old Spice spent $20 million-plus and Gil lette’s Right Guard spent $12 million. Deutsch also handles media for Revlon.