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: