A decade ago, he captured our hearts by getting us two tickets to that thing we love and then effortlessly sliding into a saddle.
Now Isaiah Mustafa is back in his role as “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” to mark 10 years since the launch of his first and widely beloved spot from Wieden + Kennedy Portland.
While Mustafa hasn’t been entirely absent from Old Spice marketing in the 10 years since he burst onto the scene, he certainly hasn’t been as consistent a presence as the pecs of Terry Crews. But it looks like little has changed for Mustafa’s character, other than the fact he now has a son—who could really do without all of dad’s CGI-fueled antics.
In one of the new spots, the Old Spice Guy interrupts his son, played by Straight Outta Compton’s Keith Powers, while he’s just trying to enjoy some basketball with friends.
It’s always uncomfortable when your dad tries to relive his past glories in front of your friends. We’ve all been there.
Unfortunately for his son, Old Spice Guy also drops by his office (via log roll and dolphin delivery), once again wearing only a towel and still oddly obsessed with bathroom products.
While most marketers could only dream of having a back-catalog ad as memorable and influential as “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” Old Spice and W+K deserve credit here for having some fun with their own legacy rather than glorifying it as a piece of craft that has aged flawlessly.
To that point, the message of these new spots is a strategic one, highlighting that Old Spice now offers an “Ultra Smooth” line of more subtle scents that might appeal to those who prefer to keep it low-key rather than literally demanding people look at them.
“When it comes to grooming, we know that Old Spice users today are looking for their own signature scents and products and have differing tastes and needs,” said Matt Krehbiel, Old Spice associate brand director at Procter & Gamble. “The return of Isaiah Mustafa along with his new ‘low key’ TV son, Keith Powers, shows that Old Spice continues to evolve.”
Launched in February 2010, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” was one of advertising’s first true viral moments, amassing 3 million views at a time when many marketers weren’t even consistently posting their ads online.
While the ad didn’t specifically launch Old Spice’s new and modern brand vibe—Wieden + Kennedy had already tapped Bruce Campbell to help on that front—it did have a massive impact on the brand’s social presence.
Old Spice says the spot boosted its Twitter following by 2,700% within a week and helped multiply its Facebook audience by nine times. (Admittedly, the brand was also an early investor in large-scale Facebook advertising, which likely helped as well.)
Winner of an Emmy for Outstanding Commercial, the spot also won the 2010 Cannes Lions Grand Prix in Film, with jury president Mark Tutssel calling it “the perfect film.”