“Old Spice” Goes Viral

Conor Massey



Old Spice is a prominent American brand of male grooming products, manufactured by Procter & Gamble, which acquired the brand in 1990 from the Shulton Company. The Old Spice brand originated all the way back to 1938 in which it tended to specialize in men’s shaving products. While being such a well known brand for close to 70 years, unfortunately the Old Spice brand began losing sales in the past few years. The competition for men’s shaving and cleaning products had progressed extensively, pushing Old Spice’s relevancy with younger audiences farther and farther away. With business slowing, Procter & Gamble sought a strategy to increase the sales of Old Spice and find a compelling purpose for the brand. The brand had an outdated image and lacked a relevant purpose. It was time for a change.

Procter & Gamble decided to go with a different approach in marketing and advertising their brand by targeting women, as well as men, in their Old Spice videos. The Objective was to encourage couples to discuss body wash, so that women would purchase an additional male scented body wash (Old Spice) for the men in their lives. Their biggest challenge in doing so was to market the body wash towards female purchasers, while still positioning the product as masculine in order to lure men away from using bar soap or other body wash.

How did they do this you might ask?

With the help of Wieden + Kennedy advertising agency, Procter & Gamble  developed the “Old Spice Guy” campaign centered on the actor Isaiah Mustafa (the “Old Spice Guy”) in a video that was over-the-top in masculinity. The video was catchy, amusing, funny, sexy, and very appealing to both young male and female audiences. The campaign helped Old Spice to define its purpose and influence their goal as to “help guys navigate the seas of manhood”. During the week of July 12, 2010, Old Spice launched their social media promotion of the video, focusing on YouTube and Twitter with hopes of getting more traction than the initial video views. In order to achieve this, the team created over 180 response videos, where the “Old Spice Guy” recorded video replies to comments left by online influencers and celebrities. The agency also decided to run a Twitter ad promotion, which featured the product as a trending topic. In addition, the campaign was also supported by traditional media buys in targeted environments, as well as discount coupons to further help encourage sales of the product.

As a result, within the first day of the Old Spice Campaign, the video received 6 million views, 20 million views by the third day, and 40 million views by the end of the week. The Old Spice Twitter account shot up to over 43,000 followers and the company’s Youtube Channel was viewed over 58 million times. Clearly, the video’s success had a significant impact on engagement in other social media channels for Old Spice. It was estimated that sales of the product jumped 55% in three months during the campaign, with 107% lift in July 2010 alone, when the social media campaign was launched.

Here is the video of the “Old Spice Guy” campaign:


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