The video: It was just last summer that hunky former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa spawned an award-winning viral advertising phenom as the ironically smooth-talking "Old Spice guy," more than doubling sales of Old Spice body wash. In December, a second round of ads featuring Mustafa launched, to fading acclaim. Now, there's a newer Old Spice guy: The charmingly stilted, aging Italian hunk Fabio, best known for brandishing his tresses and gracing romance-novel covers. Fabio stars in a series of four rather nonsensical spots at NewOldSpiceGuyFabio.com. (Watch one below.) A spokesman for parent company Procter & Gamble insists that Mustafa is still in the picture: "Fabio has not replaced Isaiah, but it's obvious Fabio feels that he can do the job."
The reaction:This is a "battle between the legendary joke that is Fabio and the self-mocking Mustafa," says KaShawn Archer at The Atlanta Post. Or, as Reid Jermyn at AdNews puts it, "a bittersweet rivalry lifted straight from the pages of a Mills & Boon novel." No contest, says Morgan Shanahan at BlogHer. "Isaiah Mustafa created one of the most memorable spokespeople of our time... And well Fabio?" He would seem to best known for being hit in the nose with a bird while riding a roller coaster. Judge for yourself:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left
- 10 things you need to know today: August 21, 2014
- Why your employer should clean your house and do your laundry
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- It's time for the police to rethink 'shoot-to-kill'
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The big policy question libertarians can't answer
- The real lesson of Rick Perry's mug shot
Subscribe to the Week