Old Spice Guy: He's Back!
By Heather Clisby on January 31, 2011
BlogHer Original Post
Never have so many gleeful exclamation points greeted an ad campaign but all hail the return of our aromatic hero: Old Spice Guy. Yes, OSG is back with a contest and hilarious new custom videos responding to his many adoring fans. Members of both sexes simply can't get enough of the self-described, "ridiculously handsome man" who is so rugged, even his throat clearing is the buzz of a chainsaw. Let the swooning begin anew.
OSG's newest stunt will join forces with "one super Old Spice fan" that involves dancing and a mutual understanding of supreme smells that only they can understand. The fan (curious if it will be a man or a woman) will be given exclusive access to OSG's "newest, top-secret, life-altering, society-changing TV commercial days before it's released to the rest of the world." More importantly, access to OSG himself -- which is the real prize. Slated for release on February 7, the new commercial will be controlled by Super Fan, who will decide how and when the public sees the new ad for the Old Spice Fresh Collection.
Like the birth of a million magical unicorns (all stallions, of course), OSG magically appeared before me as I sat in a dark movie theater, groaning through one predictable pre-feature commercial after another. And like a shining light from Heaven itself, OSG captured our collective attention like a bouquet of roses made of self-mined rubies in one big meaty grab. The audience was defenseless against OSG in all his shiny bo-hunk glory -- awakening our loins, alerting our nostrils and shaking the room with unexpected laughter. We simply didn't have a chance. The second OSG disappeared from view, we wanted him back. And so it is.
"Hel-LO, ladies. Look at your man. Now back to me. Now back at your man, now back to me. Sadly, he isn't me."
--Old Spice Guy's debut, in a commercial which took four days and 83 takes to complete
OSG's commercials go to ridiculous lengths, illustrating what every woman thinks she wants in a man, a mate who can do it all -- welcome adventure, build amazing stuff and set her passion aflame all the while remembering to get "two tickets to that thing you love."
The extreme examples of what it takes to satisfy a woman are so painfully accurate, it hurts. Of course, each commercial could be tailored (mine would include an electric guitar, for example) but the overall gist is dead on. The comedy lies in the very real fantasy brought into playful, satirical light. I'm guessing that George Clooney and Brad Pitt might be laughing the hardest.
"Smell more courageous than an astronaut looking for his wedding ring in a black hole."
--@OldSpice tweet (with 120,000+ followers)
The genius behind this wildly successful campaign is the Portland-based ad agency, Wieden + Kennedy. Not surprisingly, the idea for the character came from two men, Craig Allen and Eric Kallman. W+K's only struggle with OSG? Topping themselves after the campaign's so-viral-its-a-virus debut -- a "problem" most agencies can only fantasize about.
"Through a traditional casting, supplemented by burnt offerings to the God of pec muscles."
--Widen + Kennedy, when asked how they found Isaiah Mustafa to play Old Spice Guy
But top themselves they have, with OSG's personalized video responses to fans. Generously sharing his well-built self, OSG stands wrapped in that pesky bath towel and responds to each person (including Demi Moore and Justine Bateman) by name. It is beyond brilliant. My personal favorite is when he takes the opportunity to expand the brand's message ("Smell Like A Man, Man") in his response to @wspencer.
"Did you know that when one handsome man compliments another, somewhere in the world a luxury-style hot tub is born? It's true. I did the research."
--OSG video response to fan, @kepereira
Of course, much credit also goes to the actor, Isaiah Mustafa, a name I did not have to look up just now. His swarthy, confident portrayal of The Man Your Man Could Smell Like has bowled us over without warning. With his laser beam stare and shower backdrop, his glistening pecs and manly presence leave us no choice but to faint. OSG is like one long flirty wink, conveying pure masculine sexuality all the while mocking it. And those hilarious inflections … every time he says, "…are now DIAMONDS!" I crack up.
Mustafa is a former NFL player (Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks) who switched to acting and hit the mother lode with the Old Spice gig. His appearance on Ellen shows us a very grateful, happy guy who can't quite believe his great fortune … again.
"There are very few commercials that are that special, that people really pay attention to."
--Ellen Degeneres, re: Old Spice Guy
The OSG response is the kind of insane traction every company dreams about. In addition to Ellen, Isaiah and the OSG campaign has been featured on Oprah, among others. And through the social media response videos, some dude asked OSG to propose to his girlfriend for him. OSG granted the request and she said, "Yes!" (Could you say no to OSG? I could not.)
I mean, that VOICE. Mustafa told Oprah that he'd created it in an answering machine call to his pal, former Denver Broncos player, Jake Plummer. The actor describes the character voice as a "little bit of James Brolin and a little bit of Adam West." A heady mix, indeed.
"Panty-melting one-liners from Isaiah Mustafa have become ubiquitous in everyday conversation....Men yearn to have his abs and for oysters to turn into diamonds."
Here's a telling fact: The Old Spice Channel is now the number one most popular sponsored YouTube channel in history -- even more popular than Twilight. Put "Old Spice Guy" into Google and you get 712,000 listings. CRAZY.
"CURSE MY STRAIGHTNESS!"
--sonikku956, commenting on YouTube's Old Spice Channel
OSG at his best? In the commercial, "Questions", OSG carries a self-made gourmet cake ("You're Beautiful" in red icing) through a "dream kitchen" that his other muscled arm is building with a power saw. He then ditches both to dive over a waterfall into a hot tub "for the best night of your life." The hot tub then collapses to reveal OSG in bum-hugging jeans, sitting on a Harley Davidson. And I even skipped the log rolling and walking on water part.
And if you're partial to moustaches, don't miss OSG in a boat. A sucker for backwards horse riding? Go here. And quite naturally, don't skip the spoofs, including my favorite, "Old Christ."
What a fabulous makeover for a fragrance that has, until recently, only invoked nostalgia. (Too bad they changed the packaging -- miss that white bottle.) Ever since they launched OSG, Old Spices sales have jumped 107 percent. As Adweek put it: "This campaign doesn't just smell like a man; it smells like victory."
And speaking as a girl who grew up with a Dad who smelled like sawdust, cigars, motor oil and yes, Old Spice, it could not have happened to a nicer guy.
BlogHer Contributing Editor, Animal & Wildlife Concerns, Proprietor, ClizBiz
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