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Posted on 09.16.2010

New Old Spice Man Takes Campaign in Wrong Direction

I feel like I just shot myself in the foot. I raved about the abs and the wit displayed by Isaiah Mustafa in the Old Spice advertising campaign and look what happened. He is now so popular that he is leaving Old Spice for cleaner, more fragrant pastures. Mustafa has signed on to appear on the NBC comedy Chuck and may even get his own series on the network. Now that Mustafa is on his way out, Old Spice has selected Baltimore Ravens player Ray Lewis as the new Old Spice man. I’m sad to say that my infatuation with the Old Spice campaign is officially waning. In one of his commercials, Lewis says “women want me, men want to be me and animals want to learn how to talk so they can hang out with me.” Sorry about it, Ray, but saying it doesn’t make it so.  I think most women will “want” Ray Lewis about as much as they “want” that giant bear chasing after him in the commercial. The other Ray Lewis spot struck me as somewhat humorous until the giant raven he rides on through the solar system sprouts rocket propellers underneath his tail. Then Lewis explodes a planet with missiles? This commercial was obviously written with a different audience in mind. Somehow, the creative minds behind the Old Spice campaign at Wieden + Kennedy lost their mojo with this latest installment because I think they have managed to alienate the one portion of their audience who actually puts these products in the cart—women. Women liked Isaiah Mustafa as the Old Spice Man because of his attitude, humor and appearance. We didn’t even know who he was before Old Spice. And we didn’t care that he was a football player. As I have mentioned before, the previous ads were smart to appeal to women, because women make most of the purchasing decisions for their household. These new ads seem to speak only to men, which could prove to be a problem for Old Spice. In fact, I may not be the only one who feels like I’ve shot myself in the foot. Old Spice should be bracing for the same shock just in case the Lewis commercials don’t turn out like the advertisers had hoped.

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