New post up on Overthinking It today, in which I analyze how Isaiah Mustafah’s insanely popular Old Spice commercials evoke the Norse myth of Loki.
The world Mustafah lives in continually changes. First he’s in a shower. Then he’s on a boat. Then he’s riding a horse. In the most recent commercial, he’s on a beach, then is rolling a log, then is walking through a kitchen into a rocky river, which he dives off of into a hot tub. Mustafah displays power over his own appearance as well. He starts off wearing a towel, then wearing a sweater, then wearing a bathing suit, then jeans. The one constant seems to be that he’s shirtless and grinning. He can even transform objects with a word. “It’s an oyster with two tickets to that thing you love. Look again! The tickets are now diamonds!”
Like Loki’s feud with Baldr, Mustafah attacks masculine vanity. “Sadly, [your man] isn’t me. But if he stopped using lady-scented bodywash and started using Old Spice, he could smell like me.” That’s as unapologetic a slam against the viewer’s appearance as I’ve ever heard. “You’re ugly. Your only hope of looking as good as me is to smell like me.” Baldr couldn’t stand up to an assault like that.