Isaiah Mustafa is the man of the hour. Or he was last week, when nearly a quadrillion people watched his commercials and dozens of quickie videos he and Old Spice’s genius team cranked out.
In case you’ve been off the grid hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail lately, here’s what one of the most brilliant spots in the history of commercials looks like:
What’s to say? Writers, directors and actors are all tearing up their union cards and becoming game wardens; why go on when you’ll never reach this level of creative cool?!
Despair not. If you make online videos, Isaiah has 3 tips for you that will turbo-charge your next production.
The first is simple: Dare to be different, but keep the core.
A men’s fragrance ad “should” feature an average dude who has no luck with the women until he splashes on the product. Presto, he’s surrounded by beautiful females. You’ve seen variations on this theme a thousand times.
What you haven’t seen from the cologne crowd is a guy who would be insufferable were he not self-mocking … said guy log-rolling, walking on water, catching a birthday cake (not difficult for a former NFL wide receiver), jumping gracefully into a hot tub, etc. The deal is that the creative team pared the theme down to its very core–this incredible man uses Old Spice body wash–then took it to crazy heights.
Second tip: Polish your script ’til the shine hurts your eyes.
Catch this prose:
“Hello ladies. How are you? Fantastic! Does your man look like me? No. Can he smell like me? Yes.”
We’re barely 6 seconds into a 30-second spot and already a full commercial’s worth of message has rattled your eardrums: Your man can be an incredible hunk if you get him the long and wide product I’m holding in my hand.
Now, your video may be about fighting terrorists, baking cupcakes or maintaining oral hygiene. You may have constraints where Mr. Mustafa has freedom. Granted. But no matter what, if you’re working from a script, spend all the time you need to get the words right. Read it out loud to yourself, and revise until you like what you’re hearing.
Tip #3: Remember, your on-camera talent is a minor deity.
Maybe not so minor in Old Spice Man’s case, but that’s not the point. Whenever you put someone on camera to be a spokesperson for your company or group, make sure to do right by the talent. It may be the CFO of your corporation, it may be the pastor of your church, it may be a hired actor. Whoever it is, that’s the point person your audience is relating to.
If you’re working with someone whose charisma has gone missing, do the best you can to eke out an acceptable performance. Don’t stint on this. When all else fails, you can cover most of their standups with B-roll (shots of what the talent is talking about).
And if you’re filming someone the camera loves, exploit the hell out of their performance. That’s what Old Spice did with Isaiah Mustafa.
I’ll leave you with one of the quickie videos from last week. You can find more on YouTube’s Old Spice Channel. This one’s a response to a tweet from TV journalist George Stephanopoulos:
Hey Old Spice Man — Political question: President’s lost some female support. How does WH get those women voters back?