And I say that as someone who doesn't have a television! I heard so much about the first Old Spice ad that I finally reluctantly, with much eye-rolling, looked it up on YouTube just to see what the fuss was about.
Surprise! The fuss was justified!
Commercials have become so obnoxious that even the best special effects are wasted on a jaded audience. But something about the combination of innovative storyboarding, tongue-in-cheek script, and Isaiah Mustafa's smirking self-confidence makes it all worthwhile.
The only down side is, it makes every other commercial look even more stupid and lame by comparison.
2. He's talking back to the internet.
Old Spice started a thing where you can ask Isaiah Mustafa questions on Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter, and he will post a video answer. Cue the sound of the internet losing its collective mind. (Which sounds a lot like the screaming crowd when the Beatles landed.)
Let's face it: people on the internet love positive feedback. After all, isn't that why we Twitter and leave comments on Reddit? And in this case, the feedback takes the form of a special video from a really awesome guy, who also is famous, and he's TALKING TO YOU. Honestly, that's pretty great.
The only problem is that you know what's going to happen next. Every mascot in the world is going to jump on the bandwagon. Today it's the Old Spice Guy… tomorrow it's going to be that creepy-ass new Burger King, or the AFLAC duck. Cue tongue-in-cheek Duff Man reference!
(But if Mr. Pibb wants to answer my questions, that would be MORE THAN ACCEPTABLE.)
3. Look, he's just awesome, okay?
I have spent a surprising amount of time pondering this question. Why is Isaiah Mustafa cool, while the Five Hour Energy Guy (who has the same basic schtick - handsome and smug about it) is just begging to be punched in the face? Or at least given a wedgie.
The truth is, the Old Spice Guy is cool. He's got it. He is therefore allowed to flaunt it.
What is "it"?
I'm afraid I'm going to have to quote Grandpa Simpson. "I used to be 'with it', but then they changed what 'it' was. Now what I'm with isn't 'it', and what's 'it' seems weird and scary."
(Except the Old Spice Guy, obviously.)
The Old Spice Guy takes everything that's cool about Stephen Colbert, wraps it in a ridiculously hunky package, and trots it through a series of mind-bending special effects. What's not to love?
4. He's random.
The randomness is definitely a big part of the humor. Expensive magnifying glass! Why are random things funny? Well for one thing it's only really funny when it's being said with a straight face by a incredibly hot official corporate spokesperson, who delivers the lines deadpan. Birthday cake.
See what I mean? Randomness just isn't as funny if you're not hot AND being paid to represent a historic deodorant manufacturer.