Mustafa, Crews Prove More Isn’t Always Better.
One of the decade’s most cherished ad figures, Isaiah Mustafa’s Old Spice persona with the penchant for making ladies swoon, is coming back. Mustafa has reprised the role as the smooth-talking sweet-smelling pitchman – and joining him is the current voice of Old Spice, the colorful, cacophonic Terry “18-35” Crews. Together, they’ve made some wonderfully crap advertising.
Since Mustafa’s debut, the ad world has become awash with the Soliloquy Man trope. Old Spice’s pioneering Man Your Man Could Smell Like campaign has since been emulated, replicated, hacked, slashed, stitched up, trotted out, shot and thoroughly beaten some more. Call it oversaturation or ad fatigue, but there are no “swan dive!” or “I’m on a horse” moments that would catch me by surprise this time around.
Crews’ surrealist machismo has about the same charm as an 8th grader who makes elaborate pipe bombs: there’s potential for something great, but mostly everyone quivers in disapproval while trying to ignore the calamity. His tenure as an Old Spice figure will be remembered as the guy who took a payday to scream a lot.
This mash-up does nothing for me, and all the charm and wit associated with Mustafa only reminds me how upset I was when he was passed over for the established Crews. The two have signed on for seven commercials, but consider the first a dud. I have enough faith in the writers at W+K to right the ship, yet as it stands now, I’m unsure if it’s being paddled sensually or about to explode with the fervor of a nuclear sub.
~ Chase Cambria, Jr. Copywriter, The S3 Agency