Advertising / The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

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"Anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady. I'm on a horse."
Isaiah Mustafa, the Old Spice Man

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The Man Your Man Could Smell Like is a 2010 ad campaign for Old Spice-brand male hygiene products starring ex-NFL player Isaiah Mustafa. It started with a single commercial in which Mustafa (a.k.a. Old Spice Man) describes everything that would be possible if the target audience's man stopped using lady-scented bodywash, and the video quickly went viral.

The success of the first commercial paved the way for a second, which proved to be just as popular. Two weeks later, Wieden Kennedy boldly went where no advertising agency had gone before and filmed dozens of short, improvised scenes of Mustafa giving personal responses to everyone (from Ellen DeGeneres to Anonymous) who had commented on the new Old Spice ads via social network. Almost 200 video responses in total were uploaded to Youtube between July 12 and 14, 2010, all of which can be viewed on Old Spice's YouTube channel. For Superbowl 2011, Mustafa starred in another one. And another one. And another one.

A challenge was issued and accepted in July of 2011, when a long-haired European named Fabio declared himself the new Old Spice guy. Mustafa and Fabio responded to questions on Facebook and YouTube in shorts similar to the video response campaign the year before, with viewers invited to vote for who should be the real Old Spice Man. Mustafa won, but immediately announced that he will be taking a vacation. In the interim the "Old Spice guy" role has been filled by Terry Crews and various NFL players.

For the 2011 holiday season, he returned with a promise to give gifts to all of Earth's 7 billion inhabitants. He returned again in August 2015 to advertise the Timber and Swagger product lines... and wound up paired with Terry Crews advertising the Bearglove line- and in each ad they fought over which one people should use.

In the commercials, Mustafa recites his monologue in Dramatic Deadpan during a single long take with lots of props and minimal CGI. While arbitrary costume changes and changes of scenery are the hallmarks of the televised commercials, the Youtube video responses were all simply Mustafa standing in a bathroom shirtless and in a white towel with several recycled props.

Old Spice's YouTube channel is both the #1 most subscribed and the #1 most viewed sponsor channel of all time, and the video responses gleaned a higher viewership in their first 24 hours than Barack Obama's victory speech. Sales of Old Spice Red Zone After Hours bodywash (the specific product the commercials advertise) have dropped 7% since it debuted; however, Old Spice product sales in general have shot up more than 170% since the debut of The Man Your Man Could Smell Like. Thus it's a highly unusual case of What Were They Selling Again? meeting Tropes Are Not Bad.

The popularity and acclaim of the commercials have even garnered Isaiah Mustafa an award for them and enabled him to break into acting in a number of roles ranging from cameos to supporting parts in film and television.


These tropes are now diamonds!

  • The Ace: Isaiah. You could smell like The Ace, provided you use Old Spice Body Wash and something not Lady-Scented.
  • Dream Team: A photo of "The Most Interesting Man in the World," a similar advertising gimmick for Dos Equus beer, was taken during the campaign. It can be seen here.
  • Dualvertisement:
    • The last video in the Youtube-response batch was in no way actually an advertisement for the Gillette Power-Glide... that would be in poor taste.
    • A couple of Terry Crews' ads had him invading commercials for other P&G products:
      • A Super Bowl Special includes a commercial that starts as an ad for a Bounce dry cleaner stick-on bar, when Terry bursts through the wall on a jet-ski, proclaiming that Old Spice is so powerful, "it can sell itself in other people's commercials!"
      • Another ad has him invading a Charmin Freshmates bathroom wipe commercial; here, his head bursts out of the Freshmates container and he shouts "Old Spice body spray is too powerful to stay in its' own commercial!" And then three arms (?) burst out of the bathroom wall spraying Old Spice cans.
  • Dueling Stars Ad Campaign: In fall 2015 a series of ads began airing where Mustafa and Crews battle peddling Old Spice Timber and Bearglove scents, respectively. It is as awesome as it sounds.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: What will happen if the Old Spice Man battles with anything as awesome as he is.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: If you're a man and you feel attracted to another man, you might be gay. If you're a man and you feel attracted to the Old Spice Man, you're only human.
  • Finishing Move: FUTURE TENNIS SLAM!
  • Follow the Leader: Dairy Queen and Edge Shaving Cream, to name a few of companies with very similar ad campaigns.
  • Get the Sensation: We're given an extensive laundry list of everything that becomes possible when men use Old Spice bodywash... with the exception of washing their bodies.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
  • Hammerspace: From which Mustafa can withdraw Old Spice bodywash, freshwater fish, expensive magnifying glasses, and everything in between.
    • Terry has this within his very own body, as the "Muscle Surprise" website demonstrates. He has multiple tiny versions of himself- and his tiger buddy- inside him.
  • He's Back: After a three-year absence, and now he's battling Terry Crews.
  • High-Class Glass: Monocle smile!
  • The High Queen: Ellen DeGeneres (a.k.a. Grand Princess Queen of All Who Are Pleasant, Syndicated, and Prone to Spontaneous Dance Movements) was crowned by the king of Ellenopia, below.
  • In the Style of...: The Critical Miss webcomic featured a parody as conducted by Garrus Vakarian from Mass Effect.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: Ladies, buy your man Old Spice bodywash and he will bake you cake.
  • Large Ham:
    • Mustafa, "THE MAN YOUR MAN COULD SMELL LIKE" is a true god of advertisement hamming.
    • Terry Crews is Up to Eleven compared to Mustafa and significantly weirder.
  • Made of Iron: There is apparently nothing that an Old Spice man can't survive. For instance, his preferred method of applying Old Spice bodywash is a live wolverine, though pufferfish and hand grenades work as well.
  • Metaphorgotten: The Perez Hilton response.
  • Mind Screw:
    • He jumps off a waterfall into a hot tub which explodes, revealing a motorbike.
    • He himself replies to himself.
    • Diving off a mountain peak into a sea of water, swimming down, and surfacing on a piano inside an apartment building.
  • Modesty Towel: Old Spice Man does community service in a towel.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Mustafa is a handsome man. So are all other Old Spice men, and you could be to if you used Old Spice bodywash (and didn't smell like a lady).
  • No Indoor Voice: Terry Crews. At least every other line is at THE TOP OF HIS LUUUUUNGS!
  • Noodle Incident: The Old Spice Man did something on the planet Neptune with his left bicep in the spring of 2007.
  • The Oner: From shower to boat to horseback in one continuous shot (with some computer trickery to insert a fountain of diamonds).
  • Panthera Awesome: Their milk has healing properties, according to the Old Spice Guy.
    • Terry has a talking tiger buddy of his who's shown up a few times.
  • Perma-Stubble: Grown to keep you looking at Mustafa's face and not his abs.
  • Rasputinian Death: Well, more like Rasputinian Kidnapping. Needless to say, Old Spice Guy escapes.
  • Rated M for Manly: Mustafa is so manly that when he clears his throat, it sounds like a chainsaw being revved.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Mustafa does this habitually in his Youtube responses, resulting in lines like "L O L exclamation exclamation exclamation exclamation" and "Disappointed mouth emoticon".
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • Old Spice Guy takes centuries to plan his vacations. He can explain the proper procedure in a 16th-century French arm-wrestling match, because he was there.
    • He had a dinosaur for a father figure, and to top it all off, he created Australia by separating it from Pangaea through sheer upper body strength.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: "Do you want a man who smells like he can bake you a gourmet cake in the dream kitchen he built for you with his own hands?" Of course you do.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Terry (hammy and over-the-top) and Isaiah (snarky and soft-spoken), respectively.
  • Renaissance Man: He can bake a gourmet cake in a kitchen he built himself, balance on logs, horse-ride, motorcycle, sail, and be sexy.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: The king of Ellenopia wears a crown, and wields a sceptre and Old Spice bodywash.
  • Retraux: Each of "The Bar Soap You've Been Smelling For" and "Unnecessary Freshness" commercials has a similar 1980s-style jingle with different lyrics, such as:
    "Nope, I was wrong. This is a commercial for fruit."
  • The Rival: Gained one in New Old Spice Guy Fabio and then Terry Crews.
  • Rule of Cool: Aside from several of the things he has been said to perform, he brings dinosaurs back to life so he can bench-press them.
  • Running Gag: Freshwater fish and horses.
  • Sex for Product: Because women won't do it with men who use lady-scented bodywash.
  • Smoke Out: Fabio tries it during the "duel". He throws down a (very ineffectual) smoke bomb and hides behind the couch. He tries it again, and hides behind the curtain. Fabio goes for it a third time, and guess who still isn't fooled?
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: He can speak shark, dog, wolf, and dragon.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Admit it, you've had one of these moments to this guy.
  • Stylistic Suck: Fabio's videos are meant to portray him as an egotistical prat, speaking in an over-the-top, intentionally incomprehensible Italian accent, and are clearly being set up to give Isaiah Mustafa the victory. That isn't stopping people from genuinely not liking him.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Most of the "Old Spice" commercials that star Terry Crews end with something exploding.
  • Subverted Catch Phrase:
    Terry: "Hello ladies...IS WHAT A DUMMY WOULD SAY!"
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Parodied. During the duel, the real Old Spice Guy gets replaced by...well, this guy.
    • Also, this guy. Ironically, Fabio himself gets this guy to replace him and...the results aren't much better than he'd usually do.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • In regards to the Gillette Cross Promotion, such a promotion definitely didn't happen. Doing that would have been "In poor taste".
    • He did not tear off the wings of Pegasus and eat them buffalo-style to achieve the manliness he exhibits today.
    • This guy swears he's the real Old Spice Guy, and not another fake person Fabio is paying 'moneys' too.
  • Talking to Themself: One video response has the Old Spice Man responding to his real-life counterpart, Isaiah Mustafa.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: All the Old Spice Men are buff and manly figures but they're also so silly and/or absurd. Their purpose is to make the audience laugh.
    • Terry Crews can become a one man band by flexing his abs.
    • Mustafa is a charismatic shirtless scene that talks in breathless non sequiturs and has random hobbies.
  • Third-Person Person: Fabio likes to talk about Fabio like this.
  • Title Drop: "Look down. Back up. Where are you? You're on a boat, with the man your man could smell like."
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Mustafa proposed to Angela A. Hutt-Chamberlin on behalf of @Jsbeals during the Youtube response campaign. She said yes, of course.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Standing, mostly but shirtless in every situation.

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