The Mayans predicted that the world would end on December 21, 2012, an impending doomsday that has captured the popular imagination for years, perhaps most publicly in the disaster film 2012. That film positioned John Cusack as the man who could maybe save us from the apocalypse. Old Spice, however, is offering up a more suitable savior: Dikembe Mutomobo.
In a new campaign created by agency Wieden + Kennedy Portland, former NBA defender Mutombo has four and a half weeks to defend the world from its extinction—and his adventures in doing so will all play out in a series of 8-bit video games. The very straightforward and aptly titled Dikembe Mutombo’s 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World is an embeddable digital video game, with levels based on current events that may or may not trigger the apocalypse. Two of the levels have already been revealed, with the remaining ones set to surface over the next few weeks.
The experience begins with the video above, in which a screen crawl and Mutombo’s distinctive voice introduce viewers to the potentially disastrous situation at hand, while decades-behind space graphics unfurl in the background. The end of the video takes viewers to the game’s landing page, where things get even stranger.
Of the two levels available so far, I’ll just describe the first one and let the second remain a magical surprise to uncover for yourself. "The Great 2012 Dance Crisis" concerns an unspecified South Korean dance craze that threatens to leave U.S. citizens too distracted with dancing to vote. A talking bear named Science the Bear guides Mutombo (and us) through the mission at hand, which is to shake everyone from their dancing stupor.
Did I mention that at any moment in the game, you can cut over to a live countdown to the end of days, where what looks like a woodworking shop class video shows Mutombo trying to carve more time into the Mayan calendar? Let’s all cross our fingers and wish him the best.