Milind Soman is everywhere right now, marathon running aside. Itâ€™s impossible to miss him in Indiaâ€™s version of the Old Spice commercial, telling us a real man plays Carnatic music, makes a mean Malabar fish curry and uses Old Spice. Heâ€™s not just about impressive karate moves.
Simultaneously on air is the Park Avenue Beer Shampoo commercial. An overly macho, exaggerated, high-testosterone film about a man using a shampoo for men, not women. He fights bears and chops up wood like itâ€™s paper.
Both commercials are about masculinity and how to â€˜be a manâ€™. And they both come across as spoofs of the original Old Spice ad. Whether itâ€™s Milind Somanâ€™s ridiculously ornate throne and mansion or Andrew B Smith lifting gigantic dumbbells without batting an eyelid.
So whatâ€™s the difference? The Park Avenue commercial is an evident exaggeration. And it makes you laugh. The Old Spice one, in spite of its preening women and over-the-top sets, leaves one wondering whether Milind Soman is supposed to be an Indian Isaiah Mustafa or not.
Isaiah Mustafaâ€™s effortless humour, cheeky dialogue, and cannot-help-but-make-you-break-into-a-smile demeanor was a one-hit wonder. Replicating it is hard, parodying it, much easier.
Which is why Milind Somanâ€™s good looks only take him so far in the Indian version. While the acting and dialogue is getting better with the third film in the series, it doesnâ€™t come across as effortless as the original did. Interest and curiosity however, has led to more than 21 lakh views of the commercial on YouTube. For those who havenâ€™t seen the original, this version has no comparison and will be a refreshing break from the cookie cutter formula of all menâ€™s advertising.
Recreating iconic advertising isnâ€™t an easy task. Old Spice has tried it, as far as being relevant to the Indian audience, it appears to have succeeded.