– 26 June 2013

Nando’s is renowned for its in-your-face ads that elicit a guffaw, because the brand often rips off popular culture icons and, delightfully, other ads. Last year it took a swing at Santam’s ad demonstrating the fact that we very often miss the details in ads. It did this by surreptitiously changing a background character’s clothing while the main character spoke about insurance clauses.

Santam could have reacted all ‘stuffed shirt’ about this cloned ad, and even taken Nando’s to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), but old spiceinstead they offered to forgive the chicken people if a delivery of 74 Nando’s meals was made to the Johannesburg Children’s Home. Nando’s complied, but went one better by promising to repeat the exercise once a month for a year. It was a win-win for both brands, and the kid’s home.

Now Nando’s has done a rip-off of that iconic Old Spice campaign, which was called “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”. Old Spice’s campaign was the stuff of legend and inspired reams of advertising case studies. The Old Spice ad became a viral sensation at the time, due to its cheeky, yet self-effacing and wry humour – it was poking fun at itself and an entire category. But more so, it was a pioneering, genre-defining campaign that showed how a brand could be re-invigorated with a clever campaign.

“Look at your man. Now look at me. Now look at your man,” the very manly Old Spice man (played by played by Isiah Mustafa) commanded, before taking the viewer on a trip through a fantasy world of beaches and yachts, before ending up on a horse. “I’m on a horse,” he declared. The ad was flighted during Super Bowl weekend, and then grew wings on social media. The rest, as they say, is the stuff of advertising legend.

In the Nando’s take-off, we have a slightly less ‘manly man’, who nevertheless manages to mimic the Old Spice man’s twinkle-in-the eye attitude. He is holding a huge tray of Nando’s chicken, chips and side-orders. “Dumela Mzansi. What’s on your plate? Now what’s on mine? Now look back at your plate…” he says, before taking viewers on a tour of the Nando’s magic world of flame-grilled chicken. The point of the ad is to feature the giant meal “perfect for sharing with your chommas,” and of course he ends up on a horse. Not a real horse, but a small rocking-horse. “I’m in a Nando’s,” he declares, with a wry smile.

The Ad

The only question I have is, why did they wait so long to do this? The iconic Old Spice man was spoofed to the point of becoming a meme, but that was in early 2010. That being said, it still works, and already Old Spice has risen to the challenge. On its Facebook page there is a poster of Isiah Mustafa on top of a TV set showing the ad, with the slogan “I’m on a TV ad,” in the Nando’s font. It also has links to both ads, with the comment, “Look at the Nando’s Original TV ad, now back to mine…”

There is also a Photoshopped pic of Mustafa in a chicken suit on a deserted road, with a bottle of Old Spice shaving cream in his hand… with the comment “Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery… but nothing beats the Original™” – which is obviously playing on the fact that Nando’s has recently started referring to itself as Nando’s Original.

A day later, this was followed up on Facebook with a picture of the Nando’s ad presenter Loyiso, holding an Old Spice gift pack, and the explanation that he had “approached us at our Man Command HQ looking for more acting work. He left with something of greater value… you’re welcome, Loyiso.” My guess is they got hold of a casting agency photo, and Photoshopped it, but don’t take my word for it. The timeline may even have some new additions by the time you read this, so take a look at

Getting back to the ad: it’s well produced, with backgrounds flying in and out, the apron flying off magically and a striped jersey dropping down from above and onto his shoulders, much as it does in the Old Spice ad. It’s all done in one take, with Loyiso handling the monologue perfectly – although he does keep his vest on, as he’s not quite as well built as Mustafa.

Humour is tricky, and satire and spoof is at the trickier end of the scale, but I think despite being dated Nando’s (again) pulls this off with flair. And no doubt the brand will support the campaign with smart in-store material where overall, Nando’s is still sizzling hot.

The ad was conceived by Nando’s stalwart agency, Blackwater FC, and production credits go to Egg Films.