That Brother in The Old Spice Commercial
Don’t tell me you haven’t seen this one, ladies. And gentlemen…
I always think about guys like him: Oh, well. He looks too perfect; he must be gay. But ooooh, nothing wrong with looking anyway. And then, seconds later, I’m laughing my ass off at what I thought was his seeming “perfection.”
He, of course, is actor Isaiah Mustafa, otherwise known as “the guy who stars in that Old Spice commercial” — a spot that’s been cracking folks up for a couple of weeks now.
“I just tried to create this lovable, oblivious [buffoon], who’s a little bit smug,” he said. (OK, Isaiah didn’t really say “buffoon.” Nobody says “buffoon” except maybe for the guy on the horse. You get the idea, though. In a lovable way, of course.)
“Buffoon” makes me think of someone like Stepin Fetchit; Isaiah Mustafa is far from this. The character he plays is full of himself.
Mustafa is already on TV, in a serious role on ABC’s Castle. But this achievement has taken second place to the sensation he has engendered, not only during TV breaks, but while movie audiences waited to see movies like Avatar and Valentine’s Day in theaters. Castle could end tomorrow, but Mustafa’s been immortalized.
At first, Mustafa memorized and portrayed the character straight. Later, though, the more he practiced, the more he got up his courage. As an experiment the night before, he decided to say his lines into a friend’s voice mail system, but hammed them up. He enjoyed it so much that he thought that this outrageous performance would go over better, and he was right. A 30-second star was born.
How did they use special effects in order to place Mustafa in those varied locales? In the shower, on a boat, on a horse?
[…] It then took three days of shooting, many dozens of takes and an astonishingly tiny amount of digital special effects to capture a spot that takes Mustafa from a shower to a boat to a horse on the beach in one flowing shot. Yes, the horse is real.
If you’re interested in such things, a “making of” video interview by tech guru Leo LaPorte with creative guys Craig Allen and Eric Kallman is embedded [here]. It’s long, but don’t be afraid — the man on the horse wouldn’t be afraid. Nor would the man on the horse backward. Along with the secrets of the shoot, it includes plenty of praise for Mustafa’s powers of concentration and sense of humor, and, surprise, we learn the spot was aimed at women as well as men.
Especially with the hook that says it’s time guys’ scents and washes smell like guys’ scents and washes. It’s long gotten to the point where male scents are becoming wearable by women as well as men. I like it; I still plan to get some 4711 one of these days, as well as enjoy CK One. Perhaps this is sort of a hanker for the good old days when guys had theirs, and women had theirs, and women enjoyed guys’ scents on their bodies, but knew they smelled better on the guys and backed off. “Smell like a man, man,” is the slogan, but it’s softened, couched in fun. If guys really smelled like men, they would smell like a locker room.
Fact is, though, The Shulton Company, which first manufactured Old Spice for men in 1938, had already premiered a product a year earlier called Early American Old Spice for women. That scent no longer exists; the men’s products took precedence and practically superseded and then the women’s products were phased out. During World War II, it is said that Old Spice was the favored aftershave of mostly all American GIs–our great-grandfathers and grandfathers. That popularity cinched the “manly man” label, but it froze Old Spice as a stodgy, old scent for old guys–until recently. Mustafa’s performance may have rescued it from that stodginess for all time. Old Spice–for all sorts of guys. “The original. If your grandfather hadn’t worn it, you wouldn’t exist.”
Old Spice was my stepdad’s after shave, and a favored scent of his father as well. We’re talking about a connection that goes back decades, people. My stepdad was never in WW II, but in Korea; and his father never went to war, but probably contributed in some way to the civilian war effort. Yet, Old Spice was like an extension, or a conferral of manhood–and of coolness–from generation to generation. As a child, I loved it. It was fresh and clean, not off-putting. Hey, children know when adults smell good or not. And for this girl child, it was a way of knowing who daddy was. It did make me think of tweeds, pipes chock full of tobacco, leather, turtlenecks and wooden sailing ships, especially since my dad was posted on military vessels, although I was told that he was not in the Navy. When I saw what those ships were actually like, I wondered what had happened to the sails; it was all gray metal and quite foreboding with all those guns. There was nothing romantic about it. That was how I began to find out the difference between emotions and reality.
Anyway, if you want to know, Isaiah Mustafa has a girlfriend who is a dancer. The girlfriend insisted that he mention her. Oh well, if it’s like that… Sorry, ladies. And gentlemen…
- Click to print (Opens in new window)
- Click to email (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
- Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)
~ by blksista on February 26, 2010.
Posted in Black People, Celebrities/Royals, Class, Comedy, Commercials, Fashion, History, Television, Women, World War II
Tags: "Smell Like a Man Man", "The Original. If Your Grandfather Hadn't Worn It You Wouldn't Exist", 30-Second Star, Boat, Commercials, Dads, Diamonds, Early American Old Spice, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, Horse, Isaiah Mustafa, Leather, Manly Man, Manly Men, Old Spice, Old Spice After Shave, Old Spice Body Wash, Pipes, Proctor & Gamble, Sailing Ships, Shower, The Greatest Generation, The Shulton Company, Turtlenecks, TV Commercials, Tweeds, Viral Commercial, White Horse, White Sandy Beach