When the guy on the tiny Delta plane that I was sharing a seat with told me about “Cincinnati chili,” all I could think about was the notorious “Cleveland Steamer.”
I mean, how was I to know any different?
Everything I knew about Cincinnati had been mainlined into my body via two sources: “WKRP in Cincinnati” and my favorite NFL head coach of all-time, former Bengals boss Sam Wyche. And this guy looked nothing like Johnny Fever. Or Wyche.
The man’s hands were strong – too strong. And when the flight attendant stopped in our row and examined a lanyard around his neck, he nodded at her — a slow, pronounced nod that was accompanied by the universal “shhhhh” hand signal of an index finger placed tenderly over his lips while making intense eye contact with the stewardess — it became clear he was some kind of TSA officer.
Needless to say, I crossed my legs and looked the other way. But all this guy wanted to talk about was chili.
“Yeah, so you can have a two-way Cincinnati chili, a three-way, heck, even a four-way.”
Old Spice is known for weirdness, and on the tarmac in Detroit en route to the “Queen City,” the weirdness was already cranked up to one billion percent. Old Spice actually came into existence due to a four-way of sorts.
Old Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa is more than a pretty face with a a tightly toned torso and a voice like butter. At one point, he was a actually a real dude, just like you.
After running track in high school, Mustafa decided to try football and ultimately walked-on at Arizona State University as a wide receiver. He played in the 1997 Rose Bowl and caught passes from quarterback Jake “The Snake” Plummer.
Post graduation in 1997, Mustafa played on the practice squads for the Tennessee Oilers, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks and even played a season in NFL Europe for the Barcelona Dragons.
After football and prior to landing the “Old Spice Guy” gig, Mustafa owned and operated a restaurant in L.A., won $47,000 on game show The Weakest Link and landed acting roles for shows on NBC, ABC, USA Network and The CW.
We spoke to Isaiah just prior to the kickoff of Old Spice’s year-long partnership with Tough Mudder at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, where he and thousands of athletes took on a grueling 10-plus mile obstacle course.
We’ve partnered with Old Spice to give you a chance to win your own Hardest Working toolkit, featuring a collection of scents so powerful, so masculine, we almost didn’t want to share it with you!
Inside the box, you’ll find the entire lineup of Hardest Working Collection products (including Odor Blocker and Sweat Defense anti-perspirants, plus Dirt Destroyer body wash) to put you through the paces as you lead your legendary existence. Dig a bit deeper and you’ll also find:
• FREE entry into a 2016 Tough Mudder event to challenge the performance of the Hardest Working Collection
• An Old Spice T-shirt fit for Legendary Men
• A gift from Tough Mudder partner Merrell to keep more than your armpits dry
• An autographed photo from the product king himself, Bob Giovanni (as seen on Old Spice’s popular digital infomercials)
• Recognition of your Legendary status with a customizable trophy, as commemorated by Old Spice
For as cool as all that was, Old Spice is back with Bob Giovanni, the self proclaimed “King of Products.” The patron saint of the new Old Spice Hardest Working Collection wants you to #smellegendary. Give this video a sniff:
This week, for the first time ever, Old Spice Guys Terry Crews and Isaiah Mustafa joined forces at the Redbury Hotel in Hollywood to celebrate their popular “Make A Smellmitment” campaign and the upcoming grand finale commercial, which debuts on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN “SportsCenter.”
We spoke to Terry and Isaiah about getting over fears of smellmitment, picking up hot babes and their journey to Old Spice pitchmen.
Bullz-Eye: Terry and Isaiah, I feel like I am in an Old Spice sandwich!
Isaiah Mustafa: Is that good or bad?
BE: We’ll see! So far, so good though. Are you guys sitting there with your shirts off right now? Because every time I see you on TV, you are both shirtless.
Isaiah: No, not this time.
Terry Crews: I am completely shirtless underneath my clothes right now!
BE: Guys, I have a confession for you – I’ve always been a little bit afraid of ‘Smellmitment.’ I can barely even say the word. Why should I re-evaluate my stance courtesy of Old Spice at this point in my life? I’ve been burned in the past.
Isaiah: Listen, you don’t want to do the same thing forever – you want to change it up every now and then. Right now, you have three different scents to choose from. It’s actually more than that, but right now we’re pushing these three. You know what you need to do? Go buy each one and switch it up. One week you do Bearglove, one week you do Timber, and the next week try Swagger and see what happens.
Terry: You have to examine the repercussions when you change it up. If good things happen, you made the right move.
Isaiah: You’re only as good as your last mistake, know what I mean? Make a smellmitment, man!
BE: I need some insight on how to score with hot babes. I know Old Spice is a key ingredient in that mixture, but from the vantage point of a couple of studs like you guys, what’s the number one thing I have to do?
Isaiah: Tell the truth.
Terry: I like to take a different approach. A lot of times, those other guys will tell you their scent will get you a bunch of girls and I ain’t gonna lie to you – if you’re not a good man, and you’re not a good person, you’re not gonna get anybody.
What you need to do is work on yourself. To be the best “you” that you can be. There is only one you. And that will attract the right woman to you. It’s not about tricking women into sleeping with me or being with me and all this stuff. It’s about being a good man, respecting women, respecting the people that are around you and treating everyone with respect. That’s the Old Spice way. That’s the difference that we do. And that comes through in the advertising. It’s an amazing company to work with.
BE: What was the journey for each of you guys to end up working for Old Spice?
Isaiah: For me, I just went to an audition. I got an email, went to the audition, and then sat back and hoped I got the job. And when it happened, I was just hoping the commercial would run a full cycle of 22 weeks. And six years later, here I am!
Terry: I remember watching “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” and I thought it was the best commercial ever made. That’s not even hyperbole, that’s the truth. Then, I was in the middle of something and got a call about doing an Old Spice commercial. And I was like, ‘YES, those are great, I saw that!’ And they said, they were looking for a ‘Terry Crews type.’ Because they were scared to ask me, because it was so weird.