Ken Tucker's TV Prime-Time TV commentary

Tag: Classic Commercials (1-2 of 2)

That great Old Spice TV ad: 'I'm on a horse' and how he got there

The proof of a good commercial is whether you can stand to watch it more than once. When it comes to the Old Spice ad with that guy who talks rapidly to the women in the audience, presenting one fantasy scenario after another and concluding, “I’m on a horse” — well, it still makes me grin, even after seeing it during the Super Bowl, during the Olympics, and I don’t know how many other places:

The guy here is actor Isaiah Mustafa, and he does the best over-the-top line-reading in recent TV-commercial history. Mustafa has had small roles on Ugly Betty and NCIS: Los Angeles, and IMDb lists him as appearing on an upcoming episode of Castle as “Team Leader.” Clearly, this man deserves a bigger role in a TV show, fast.

If you’re obsessed or even just interested, there’s an intriguing — if rather long — video about the making of this spot, in which two guys from the agency that produced it, Wieden + Kennedy, claim there’s minimal CGI used. That’s right: Mustafa slides from the boat onto the horse in one shot:

Do you like this ad? Do you think it succeeds in making an ancient brand like Old Spice seem a bit more interesting? And what TV show would you cast Isaiah Mustafa in?

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Jay Leno talks about the David Letterman - Oprah ad: 'I want to thank Dave. I was glad to promote his show'

Tonight, Jay Leno couldn’t wait to talk about the commercial he made for The Late Show with David Letterman on his next-to-last Jay Leno Show on NBC.

“I’ll tell you the whole story right after ‘Headlines’!” he yelled as he went to his first commercial break.

In his opening monologue, Leno joked about the commercial he taped with Letterman and Oprah Winfrey. “Letterman and I hadn’t seen each other in 18 years. We’d lost touch. He found me on Facebook. He made a friend request, I accepted… Things are going so well between us, we’re going to go to the Vancouver Olympics  and compete in the two-man luge.”

Later, while seated, Leno told his version of the story.

“It was Dave’s idea,” said Leno. “And when he told me — no matter what animosity there is, among comedians, a good joke is a good joke. It makes all [the hostility] go away.”

Leno told the story, now familiar from the reporting of my colleague Lynette Rice, of the comedian arriving at Letterman’s Ed Sullivan Theater in disguise. “I see Dave, we shake hands, and… it was great to see my old friend again. We talked about the old days; it was really good to see him.”

Then Leno told a joke on his bosses. “The next day an NBC executive calls and says, ‘Jay, we have a problem. We think Dave shot some kind of secret show.'”

To make a long joke short, Leno said that NBC thought the disguised figure was “President Obama… ‘President Obama did a commercial for Dave!'”

Chuckling, Leno concluded, “I wanna thank Dave. I was glad to promote his show.”

What do you think of Leno’s version of the story?

For more: David Letterman jokes about Super Bowl ad with Jay Leno, Sandra Bullock jokes about Dave and women

Late Show producer on Leno-Letterman-Oprah Super Bowl spot: Jay wore disguise to taping

Watch Letterman and Leno declare a grumpy truce during the Super Bowl

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