Scandal! Did Old Spice Bench Mustafa for a White Guy Well Past His Prime?

'Story' Sure to Provoke Grumpy Comments About News Value

By Published on .

Old Spice guy and former NFL wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa has new competition from very deep off the bench in the form of Fabio.

One of Fabio's new Old Spice spots
One of Fabio's new Old Spice spots

The Procter & Gamble Co. brand, via Wieden & Kennedy, is attempting to unleash a new set of viral videos featuring the former romance-novel cover boy (and margarine and insurance pitchman), now posing as the "New Old Spice Guy." He's also done some "Responses"-like shout-outs to celebs such as Creativity 's own Ann Christine Diaz.

There is no real Old Spice guy controversy, said P&G spokesman Mike Norton in an e-mail. "Fabio has not replaced Isaiah, but it's obvious Fabio feels that he can do the job."

He added that "Fabio will be taking his message to the airwaves" in TV ads, while not commenting on whether this is all to set up a triumphant return by Mr. Mustafa. Fabio also appears on the website.

The second wave of TV ads featuring Mr. Mustafa, which launched in December, didn't resonate -- or spawn Cannes hardware -- quite like the first ads or the "Responses" social-media campaign did last year. That led to some speculation that he would go the way of that other Mustafa, the Lion King. But P&G Global Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard did say at Cannes last month that Old Spice still has plans for Mr. Mustafa.

If neither Mr. Mustafa nor Fabio work out, there's always Rupert Murdoch, in case the News Corp. CEO continues to struggle with his day job. The octogenarian hunk of burning love just yesterday showed he's capable, a la Old Spice rival Axe, of inspiring intense passion and loyalty in much younger and better-looking women, namely wife Wendi Deng.

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