Old Spice Revives the Old Spice Guy

Isaiah Mustafa, the Old Spice guy, was an incredible hit about a year ago. The campaign that surrounded him was massively popular, and early his web videos are still getting a lot of play. But there came a point, after dozens of videos, where people started to get just a bit tired of the campaign. It didn’t quite reach the point of backlash, but that wasn’t far off.

So Old Spice did the smart thing. They stopped making new ads starring Mustafa, they gave their YouTube channel a breather, and they generally pulled way back and let the brand’s popularity maintain itself for a little while. A bevy of imitators popped up, did their thing and died back down. Then, once the dust settled and people were looking back fondly on the campaign, they revived it.

They started out with a challenge – a new contender for the mantle of Old Spice guy, Fabio. They invented a whole universe where Fabio tried to steal the job, hatched all kinds of plans, and eventually challenged Mustafa to a duel. This gave them the opportunity to put out another huge slew of videos, but they held Mustafa back for most of them. In the end, it came down to a vote, and viewers (of course) picked their hero – Mustafa, the returning champ.

This is only one of the many videos created for the revival, but it’s the big one: the showdown between Mustafa and Fabio. It lacks a little of the freshness and charm of the original Old Spice Guy ads, but I’m not sure that matters. The new run has millions of views between its many videos. The brand is back in everyone’s awareness. I’ve overheard people discussing which Old Spice guy should win and worrying that Fabio might take the mantle. Clearly Old Spice is still doing something right.

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