Matt Smith's End of the Spectrum

Melbourne-based writer and journalist. Purveyor of finally crafted radio plays. A Muppet of a man.

Old Spice – old news

First published on The Punch on 27th July, 2010


Look at your ad. Now look at mine. Now look at your ad. Now. Look. At. Mine. Sadly, this is not your ad. But what if your ad could look like this ad?

We all have fond memories of the Old Spice ad, don’t we? The Old Spice ad campaign ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ features former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa, in all his muscle-bound glory, telling the viewer that a real man would smell like Old Spice.

Appealing to both men and women, and now nominated for a Primetime Emmy, the ad has revitalized the brand, turning Old Spice from something your grandparents used to wear, to a smell for real men. But has it become old news already?

The downfall of the modern internet era is that anything that becomes popular can be, and will be recreated and parodied to the point of no return.


There are currently three Old Spice commercials which have been watched more than 25 million times on YouTube. Also take into account that not only does Mustafa have 90,000 followers on Twitter (where he tweets like the man your man could tweet like) but also an entire YouTube channel dedicated to new videos in response to questions sent to him.

In one case he even helps out with a wedding proposal.


Don’t believe me? Look at YouTube. Now look back. What did you see? A plethora of Old Spice commercial parodies.

There’s everything on there that you could ever see and never wanted to see, which includes babies, overweight people, pale untanned people, and a sausage your sausage could taste like, all wearing a towel and all wearing thin. Which brings us to Tim Costello.

For the sake of your sanity, I won’t embed. But if you must click…

There’s nothing about Tim Costello wearing a towel that makes me want to support World Vision, nor is it done well enough to make me applaud him for giving it a go.

Obvious reading of cue-cards and tacky visual effects give it a hurried look, and I wonder if anyone under forty saw the clip before it was put online.


The very nature of commercials is to sell us something, and it’s rare that one does it and yet keeps our attention time and time again.

The point is that a commercial has a limited shelf life, and perhaps the Old Spice commercial will be a victim of its own success. By being overdone it will lose its charm, and five months after its debut the damage could be done and it is destined to go the way of the Cadbury Gorilla.

Of course, there’s every chance that it is so undeniably manly that it’s bronzed carapace will never crack. Why don’t you tell me?

I’m writing a Punch article.


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This entry was posted on July 29, 2010 by in advertising and tagged , , , , .
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