"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.
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 Pants is a Free Action
- 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.
- 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."
- Dramatic Deadpan
- Dream Team: This.◊
- 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.
- 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.
- The Pure Sport soap commercial is a Deconstructive Parody of the concept. "Never leave your house again!"
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Mentioning delicious cake to Anonymous, which has a rather specific connotation in those circles.
- To say nothing of a guy in a towel asking you to look down.
- While speaking to a female audience: "What's in your hand? Back at me. I have it! It's an OYSTER with two tickets to that thing you love"
- Gratuitous Italian: Fabio, for obvious reasons.
- 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.
- Informed Flaw: In one of his response videos, the commenter asked him to swan dive into diamonds. While he admitted it would be a Crowning Moment of Awesome, he also admitted it would hurt and the bad outweighed the good.
- 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 squitors 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.
- Walk on Water
- 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."