The Old Spice Guy - Macleans.ca
 

The Old Spice Guy

If the material is reasonably funny and the pitchman doesn’t choke on-camera, it’s a successful commercial


 

Christopher Bird has a post about this week’s big viral video event, the many direct-to-YouTube sequels to the Old Spice commercial starring former football player Isaiah Mustafa. In most of the videos, he responds to a question asked on social media (including one question he asked himself), while maintaining his deadpan demeanor and super-deep voice, and frequently holding up props to make a comedic point.

One thing about this campaign is that it’s taking advantage of the fact that, with today’s technology, it’s possible to make a super-quick commercial that looks just as good as a real commercial — maybe not a real current commercial, but the commercials many viewers still recall seeing on TV. Remember that George Steinbrenner/Billy Martin commercial? It was done in one take, with a static camera, and obviously little time for retakes (Martin slurs his speech at a couple of points). That’s the baseline for a successful commercial, as long as the material is reasonably funny and the pitchman doesn’t choke on-camera. So using the comic persona from the original commercial, Mustafa and Old Spice can spin off dozens of mini-commercials that still have a professional feel to them.

The original ad also reminds me of something George Cukor said about technique: he said that if you want dazzling displays of cinema technique you should look not to movies, but “to some of the commercials, which are real humdingers.” This ad uses technology(tm) to seamlessly change Mustafa’s clothes and location, and jump him off a cliff and into a hot tub, all without an apparent cut. Why should the surrounding TV programs even try competing with that kind of gimmickry?

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The Old Spice Guy

  1. I love those commercials, and the corresponding Twitter campaign and viral videos are funny too.

    The one I though was really great was the one that got him to do the marriage proposal for some guy to his girlfriend.

    (She said yes).

  2. This is the best thing I've seen in ages. Everyone sucks but you, Jaime. And the Old Spice Guy, of course.

    • No, I'm pretty sure Old Spice Guy is the only person who doesn't suck. That's the genius of the campaign: he's telling us that he's better than us in every way, and we love him for it (unlike the Most Interesting Man In The World)

      • This is funny, but it is not on the same level as The Most Interesting Man In The World. Sorry, but it’s not even close.

  3. The Most Interesting Man in the World is good, bu the Old Spice Guy is great.

  4. How iconic! The marketing fairies have finally found a way to push cosmetic junk to real men. For a long time the madison stress types struggled to break into this vast market; the question of how to sell lady products to men who do not care for such frugalities hounded the fairies. But as with everything else, just as with counter-culture, they found a way. Go for the weak part of the heard, push the product to the wife. After decades of waiting this opportunity finally came as females now control the house budget. So let the marketing theater of propaganda roar through the media. For is it not the right of every woman to an egotistic, self absorbed, media manufactured poster image of what a man should be? Nanan,na,nan,nanan.

  5. I'm sorry, but the MIMITW beats the OSG ANY DAY.