Just when you thought you couldn’t take one more joke about the Mayan apocalypse, now comes Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World, a surprisingly fun new video-game-cum-marketing-stunt from the folks at Old Spice. While the 8-bit-style video game is packed with surprises—the less you know going in the better—its setup is reasonable enough: Mutombo is of course the world’s greatest defender, and so who better to turn to when the Earth needs defending.
If you need to know any more about why this isn’t just your typical marketing stunt, here are a few of the game’s principle selling points. First and foremost, of course, is Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacque Wamutombo. In addition to his sonorous voice work and wagging finger, the incredibly elaborate game also comes complete with such end-of-2012 elements as undecided voters, the Rebecca Black-like holiday tune “It’s Thanksgiving,” and, of course, “Gangnam Style.” (The game is soundtracked in part by the Psy song, making me wonder exactly how much Old Spice and ad agency Wieden+Kennedy paid for the campaign.)
The inevitable plugs for Old Spice are done in the time-tested advertising mode of poking fun at advertising (Mutombo discovers that “this superior deodorant product is also a jetpack”), so they at least go down easy. It’s an ad, to be sure, but it might also be the day’s best new way to burn a few minutes.