Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Old Spice Man

Man / Bag of Sand - Frightened Rabbit (mp3)
My Old Man - Stephen Kellogg (mp3)

I love the Old Spice Man.

No. Seriously. I love him love him love him.

This goes way beyond what is culturally acceptable, or what we deem as “OK.” This goes beyond my appreciation for good marketing and advertising. It is a statement of my admiration of what might well be considered the most amazing ad campaign of at least the last several years and quite possibly since the Pleistocene Era.

If you’ve seen the ads, then yes, you have the genesis of what I believe to be awesomeness.

If you’ve seen the ads Pre-OldSpiceMan, then you clearly appreciate that this mentality was already maturing and growing before OldSpiceMan was born, and awesomeness existed before he set foot on the pseudo-Earth that is AdvertisingLand.

OK, stop. Seriously, you need to go check out these ads, because if you haven’t, you’ve somehow missed out on one of the greatest cultural powers of the decade. If you haven’t, you’ve chosen to be that person who doesn’t know who Clara Peller is. You’ve chosen to lack knowledge about the MicroMachines guy, or the Taco Bell dog, or the Time to Make the Donuts Guy, or the Fruit of the Loom gang.

But then the good folks at Wieden & Kennedy (the ad agency behind Old Spice Man) one-upped themselves by making their Facebook page more fun than a day at DisneyWorld (well, at least it’s more fun in a dollar for dollar kind of way).

The allowed all fans of their Old Spice Facebook page to ask Old Spice Man questions, and then Old Spice Man would answer them in a brief video response. What the notion lacked in genuine originality, it more than made up for it in simple hilarity. It even bled into Twitter and responding to celebrities from Ashton Kutcher to Ellen DeGeneres.

And then there’s the four-in-a-row exchange he has with Alyssa Milano. By the third one, not only has coffee gone up Alyssa’s nose, but his work with a feather sent water up my own. Even after days and months of worshipping these ads, I find myself still able to laugh hard enough to end up wheezing.

I’m all about being media-conscientious. All of us, as consumers and citizens, should be guarded and cynical about the power of propaganda. In some sense, I’m in the very profession due to my great respect and fear of that power. But this campaign transcends traditional levels of genius and manipulation and goes into an altogether different viral stratosphere.

I don’t know how long Isaiah Mustafa’s joy ride will last, but I rarely hop on a great roller coaster wondering when it will end. I wait until it’s over and feel that slight twinge of sadness and only hope I can get back on another roller coaster as soon as possible. Rarely can 30 million-plus people hop onto a single roller coaster and have this much fun together.

Dare to enter the rabbit hole of pointless distraction that is the Old Spice YouTube channel, where his myriad of standing-still-in-the-bathroom responses have entertained millions. Or just go enjoy the old reliable standards of his more traditional commercials.

I only ask that you look upon Mustafa’s works, ye mighty, and despair.


Heff said...

He MAY not last very long, lol.

I read an ad this morning that said despite the popularity of the ads, Old Spice sales are DOWN 7%.

Mustafa’s apparently NO CLARA PELLER !!

Bob said...

That's probably because I love those ads, but if you'd asked me what they were advertising, I wouldn't have been able to remember until I read this post.

Daisy said...

I love, love, love the ads, but wonder have they made such a mockery of Old Spice that no one wants to buy it?

cinderkeys said...

I about died when I saw what I assume was the first ad. "I'm on a horse!"

That I haven't gone out and bought Old Spice because of it isn't a reflection on the ad. I'm female. :)

jed said...

"bud light swear jar?" love the new wallpaper.