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Advertising: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

"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

Hello, tropers. Look at your trope, now back to my trope, now back at your trope, now back to my trope. Sadly, your trope isn't like my trope. But if you read this description, it could be described like it's my trope. Look down, back up, where are you? You're on TV Tropes, with the trope your trope could be described like.

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.

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.


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.
  • Hammerspace: From which Mustafa can withdraw Old Spice bodywash, freshwater fish, expensive magnifying glasses, and everything in between.
  • 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.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: Ladies, buy your man Old Spice bodywash and he will smell like he can bake you cake.
  • Large Ham:
    • Mustafa 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.
    • Topped by himself when he 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 it.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Mustafa, and apparently all other Old Spice men, you included if you used Old Spice bodywash (and didn't smell like a lady).
  • 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.
  • 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 Punctuation 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 1.5 Kabillion 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 also 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shaped Like Itself: A prominent characteristic of Old Spice Man's monologues.
  • 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.
  • 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...well, the results aren't much better than he'd usually do.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In regards to the Gillette Cross Promotion.
    • Also, 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
    • "Odor Block for Sixteen Hours" can become a one man band by flexing his abbs.
    • 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: Well, standing, mostly. But shirtless in every situation.
  • Wealthy Yacht Owner: He's on a boat. With Diamonds. And tickets to that thing you love.
  • What Were They Selling Again?: The company (and product line as a whole) has done very well. The specific bodywash being advertised did not.
    • Lampshaded with Fabio's commercials, he stumbles through his lines and just says "Old Spice Product Wash".
  • You No Take Candle: Parodied hard with Fabio. Also the fake Old Spice Guy, who is clearly having his lines fed by Fabio.


"Anything is possible when your trope is described like The Man Your Man Could Smell Like article, and not a member of the Permanent Red Link Club. I'm on an index."
The Magic BulletNotable CampaignsThe Most Interesting Man in the World
LOLCatsMemetic MutationMeme Acknowledgment
Kevin ButlerAdvertising TropesThe Most Interesting Man in the World

alternative title(s): Old Spice Man; Isaiah Mustafa; Old Spice; Old Spice Guy; The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
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