Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Old Spice: "…I'm on a horse."
A Brand Spotlight by Craig Cawkwell
Despite being adored by granddads across the planet, there is no doubt that Old Spice was a brand in need of a serious facelift. And who better to do this than the perfect male!? ‘Ladies, meet… the man your man can smell like.’ A hugely popular TV campaign successfully translated into a social media phenomenon has completely rejuvenated the Old Spice brand and made its products once again desirable to younger consumers.
Founded in 1934, Old Spice produced shaving soap and aftershave lotion, marketed with a traditional nautical theme. Despite being relatively successful in its early years, sales of Old Spice began to decline, with young consumers in the 80s beginning to view the brand as old-fashioned, outdated and smelling-like-old-man! Indeed the idea of smelling like your dad was something which wasn’t particularly appealing to the market that Old Spice was targeting.
In 1990, Old Spice was acquired by P&G who set about transforming the small, stagnating brand into a men’s personal care powerhouse. This involved refocusing its marketing messages on performance via the ‘Prove-it’ campaign, which challenged buyers to use the product and get their money back if they were not satisfied. They also realised that due to the stigma attached to the brand by males 25-45 (who remembered the pungent smell of their dad’s generously-applied Old Spice aftershave), they would be more successful in targeting younger consumers. P&G therefore set about a number of grass-root marketing activities, handing out samples at schools and colleges and sponsoring youth-orientated events.
This concentrated activity, coupled with TV ads featuring young sporting celebrities, led Old Spice to become extremely competitive within the male teen personal care market, edging out Right Guard as the top teen brand in 2001. However, it was in the late 2000s when Old Spice began to experience colossal growth thanks to some humorous campaigns developed by Weiden+Kennedy.
In 2007 the ‘Experience is Everything’ campaign was launched. A twist upon the preceding campaign, Old Spice embraced its heritage with humour and double entendres in order to establish the brand as an authority when it comes to the ‘experiences’ which young males seek. The first TV ad featured Bruce Campbell nonchalantly strolling around his lavish study, explaining the importance of experience in the form of one long sexual innuendo ‘If you have it, you don’t need it. If you need it, you don’t have it. If you have it, you need more of it.’
A number of humorous ads followed Bruce Campbell, with Patrick Neil Harris appearing as a parody of his Doogie Howser M.D. character and Terry Crews appearing in a number of TV and online ads.
It was, however, a few years later in 2010 that ‘the man that your man could smell like’ ad helped double sales of Old Spice body wash. P&G realised that a massive proportion of Old Spice’s customer base was females who bought products for their partners. Therefore, they commissioned a campaign to be produced which was aimed predominantly at women. However, the result was something that definitely appealed to both sexes! Men wanted to be him, women wanted to be with him. He was… the Old Spice Guy (or Isaiah Mustafa if you felt the need to know his real name). The first ad featuring the Old Spice Guy consisted of him basically explaining to women (whilst travelling seamlessly through a number of exotic locations and poses) that their man could never be as handsome, chivalrous, generous, caring or smooth as him, but they could smell like him… if they use Old Spice! The strapline ‘Smell like a man, man’ then appears on screen as Isaiah strikes the ultimate manly pose of holding a bottle of Old Spice… whilst straddling a noble steed.
The Old Spice Guy was an instant hit. However, the TV ads were just the beginning of what turned out to be one of the most impressively run campaigns of the last decade. Due to his popularity, numerous people began discussing the Old Spice Guy across the web on various platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Reddit. In an unprecedented move, Weiden+Kennedy chose to engage these people directly and recorded Isaiah’s individual responses to fans in the form of 30-second YouTube videos. This allowed the brand to humorously communicate with potential customers on an extremely personal level, something which hadn’t really been done before. These videos went viral on a gigantic scale, generating 40 million views within the first week, with Old Spice on YouTube becoming the all-time most viewed channel. As a result, sales of Old Spice products went up by an amazing 107%, with their body wash product becoming #1 body wash brand for men.
Continuing the humour and heavy emphasis on social media, Terry Crews has once again been recruited for Old Spice’s current campaign ‘Smell is Power’. This campaign is breaking new ground by showing Old Spice invading other P&G owned brands because ‘Old Spice Body Spray is too powerful to stay in its own commercial!’ This includes Terry bursting through the wall during an ad for Bounce Dryer Bars and his head smashing upwards through a box of Charmin Toilet Wipes! This is obviously an intelligent way for P&G to gain dual exposure for its products whilst maintaining the powerful message that SMELL IS POWER!!!
Keep an eye out for Terry bursting through a wall or toilet near you!