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Today we’re going to talk about Old Spice. The manliest of commercials.
The year was 2010. Old Spice was losing market share and needed a boost to gain control and increase revenues. Remember, Old Spice was a 75 year old brand. But, with the Axe dominating the scene as well as other grooming brands such as Dove and Nivea entering the men’s line of products, Old Spice needed a way to stand out. They chose to highlight their body wash and the goal was to target both men AND women. A men’s product - that targets female shoppers. And so they turned to award winning ad agency Wieden and Kennedy (the minds behind Just Do It) to blow up the internet with a rockstar ad.
“The man your man could smell like” ad featured former NFL star Isaiah Mustafa in what is probably the most all over the place ad, ever. It was insanely popular and birthed a series of Old Spice ads that had a form of continuity from one to the next. All of them, very obscure.
One of the coolest parts of this viral ad is that Old Spice had Isaiah responding to Tweets and Facebook messages and the like, giving longevity and personality to the Old Spice brand. The ad put OldSpice back on the map as a top men’s grooming company and a lot of their current success started with that ad.
Besides the creativity of the ad, which is no small feat, the first thing we should notice about the ad is WHO it’s targeting - women! They target women in the ad because over 50% of body wash purchases were done by women. This was a demographic they wanted to include in order to help grab more market share.
But it should force you to ask - who is your real target market? It’s a men’s product - it takes a genius to say, “yes we are targeting men...but who’s going to BUY the product” This is the kind of marketing wizardry that makes history.
Old Spices investment into responses was amazing. Responding to questions and comments all over the internet, this made their company a living breathing brand, not just some corporation. Old Spice put in a lot of effort to aggressively respond to comments, to the extent that they created a Facebook profile for the “Old Spice Guy” to respond!
They used this strategy to keep the ads alive after they were viewed, by having a film crew, writers, and media scanners going through questions, writing creative responses, filming said responses, and posting those responses via quick to market videos. Obviously you can’t respond like this forever, but the Old Spice marketing crew had an “exit strategy.” They said goodbye in their last video and thus concluded the aggressive response part of the campaign.
Not everyone gets to hire the most famous ad agency for their company - but it doesn’t mean we can’t learn from their success.