Despite his smug persona, I still want to be on a horse with Isaiah Mustafa. I want to fake-swan dive with him, picnic in a boat with him and hang out with his friends. Who wouldn’t want to ride a raven through space?
It’s nothing romantic—I don’t even find him that attractive. It’s just that he looks like the kind of guy who could transform a wedge of cheddar into a Simon and Garfunkel concert. He knows what I want. He’s cool. And I want to smell like him, even though I’m a girl.
If you haven’t guessed already, I’m a fan of Old Spice’s video campaign, but so are millions of others. Old Spice has 120,037 Twitter followers, 1,237,707 Facebook followers, 206,353 YouTube subscribers and over 173,465,786 YouTube upload views. Even Mustafa’s personal Twitter has 44,466 followers, not to mention a sweet Chuck Norris background.
What’s obviously wonderful about these videos is their sense of humour. They are the most random commercials I’ve ever seen, and without the oddball humour, their videos wouldn’t have infiltrated the social media world.
Humour is the biggest player in their commercials, but audience is a close second. The Old Spice Guy is sneaky—he speaks to both men and women simultaneously, yet separately. He addresses women directly and focuses on the delights of a nice-smelling man. But for men, he uses humour to make assumptions about what women really want. I say assumptions,, but some of them are surprisingly accurate. Call me old fashioned, but I wouldn’t complain if a man built me a dream kitchen with his own hands.
Once the first commercial took hold, Old Spice noticed that the biggest audience was online, not at home watching television. To take advantage of this unlimited audience, they asked users on several social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, 4chan and blogs) to submit questions for Mustafa’s character. They then paired a social media team with a technical team and went to work creating real-time personalized videos that took advantage of the instant nature of social media.
One guy even asked Mustafa to propose to his girlfriend. Within an hour, Mustafa popped the question. The fiancee said yes, but the whole situation is too weird for my tastes. Is it really a good idea to have a half-naked man propose to your fiancee? What if she gets confused? Something to think about.
Here’s the commercial –