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

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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 Bear Glove line.

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.
  • 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...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.
    • "Odor Block for Sixteen Hours" 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.
  • 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. It's lampshaded with Fabio's commercials, where 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.


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