Charged with making 18-to-34-year-old males feel inadequate about their bodies' effects on women (aka, "shooting fish in a barrel"), the marketing department at Old Spice has launched a full-court press over the last year with a series of winking, hyper-masculine commercials, including spots featuring deeply disturbing centaurs, airborne weightlifters and preposterous home-plate slides. Its latest entry to the genre is this guy:
But you probably knew that already -- though it has eluded your humble blogger entirely, the above clip has apparently defied the odds to emerge as something of a sensation since its unheralded debut during the Super Bowl, garnering more than four million hits on YouTube and earning its star a turn on the daytime talk show rounds (including the shrieking lair of the Oprah Machine) over the next month. A spokesman for Proctor and Gamble told the Republic it could launch the actor's career: "I handled a spot for the band that does the FreeCreditReport.com spots and those were big. This is 10 times that. Every major show is coming to us."
Even football fans, however, may not be aware that the newest icon of the war on body odor is a former Arizona State player, Isaiah Mustafa, a reserve receiver who caught five passes for 56 yards on the 1996 Sun Devil team that came within a last-second touchdown by Ohio State of completing an undefeated season in the Rose Bowl and likely securing ASU's first national championship. Mustafa, now 36, didn't contribute much on the field to the best season in school history, but he did keep in touch with that team's star, quarterback Jake Plummer, a connection the Arizona Republic says paid major dividends in landing Mustafa's breakout role:
When Mustafa read for the part the first time with the advertising agency Wieden and Kennedy, he played the part straight. The director wanted something more, and Mustafa ... called Plummer and left a message using the over-the-top manly man voice he used for the character.
Mustafa liked it so much, he decided to use it the next day at his audition. It worked.
Hey, it's a good thing Plummer didn't answer and tell Mustafa the voice sounded ridiculous.
The Republic obviously missed the latter stages of Plummer's NFL career, when the Cardinal-turned-Bronco aggressively repudiated the concept of "ridiculous" by appearing publicly as the heir to John Oates' mustache and later as press conference Jesus. If any of his former teammates was guaranteed to not call Mustafa's He-Man routine ridiculous, it was Jake Plummer. Hey, great choices make great actors.