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.
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.
- Achilles' Heel: Small-sized weights. It causes his muscle groups tremendous confusion as to why such small weights would exist. Oh wait guys, he was only joking. Old Spice Guy has no weakness!
- Adam Westing: You know how Fabio looks like every parody of a romance novel cover model ever? Well, he's the guy such parodies are making fun of, and thus he is very much spoofing himself.
- Alter Ego Acting: Isaiah Mustafa/The Old Spice Man. During the height of this ad's popularity, it was quite a thing to compare the former's relaxed, humble twitter feed with the latter's hammy goodness.
- Always Male: Users of Old Spice bodywash and deodorant can only be men. Apparently attempts by women to use these products results in them acquiring male secondary sex characteristics.
- Aroused by Their Voice: Isaiah Mustafa's deadpan voice intentionally has this effect. He says that the science people explain it as tiny vibrating sound hands massaging your ears.
- Awesomeness Is Volatile: Old Spice Man tends to burst through things or have stuff randomly explode while he pitches his product.
- Awesome McCoolname: Isaiah Mustafa.
- Badass Mustache: All over this.
- Best Known for the Fanservice: There are other Old Spice men that advertised their manliness, but were they in a towel like Mustafa? No. Eventually, the campaign only used Mustafa.
- Blessed with Suck: In the Pure Sport soap commercial, a man is taking a shower while driving a car, during surgery, and even in a restaurant, all for carrying said bar soap with him. The solution to the fairly serious problem? Never leave your house again!
- Breakout Character: Isaiah's got some movie deals, thanks to this.
- Breathless Non Sequitur: One reason the commercials' humour is so popular. SILVER-FISH HAND-CATCH.
- Buffy Speak: Prevalent in the Youtube responses, where he will refer to people by terms like "smart computer-type person".
- Bullet-Proof Fashion Plate: Old Spice Man apparently had all of his tattoos bitten off by sharks and a whole arm replaced with the muscle tissue of a vicious animal, and yet he's still one ridiculously handsome man.
- But Now I Must Go: At the end of Mano a Mano en el Baņo, Mustafa says, "I must go, for now."
- Captain Obvious: "I'm on a horse."
- Catch Phrase: "Hello, ladies!"
- Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Changing pants in the time it takes for a hottub to fall apart.
- Cool Bike: In a hot tub.
- Cool Boat: With a jet-ski lion.
- Cool Hat: A night-vision top hat!
- Cool Horse: Ridden backwards.
- Corpsing: Watch the Anonymous response video. There are several points where he is obviously quite aware of the absurdity of the video and fighting to keep a straight face.
- Denser and Wackier: Terry Crews, compared to Isaiah Mustafah. Both speak in non-sequiturs and are overtly literal. However, the latter is presented as the ideal man, whereas the former is a Cloud Cuckoolander with No Indoor Voice.
- Department of Redundancy Department: See Wacky Marriage Proposal below.
"I'd be honored to honorably honor your honorable request."
- Don't Try This at Home: here:
"The Old Spice lawyers would like me to tell you not to try this, because you will most likely become dead."
- 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.
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