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Old spice on the internet

Old Spice. Not a very attractive name is it? But it is a brand that has been around for more than 70 years – a brand that has been passed on down to generations of men as a tool to attract the opposite sex. Unfortunately, over the years the musky strong smell of the deodarant only conjures images of one’s grandad – not a very appealing image when you’re trying to impress the girl of your dreams.

In their recent attempt to revive the brand (and get away from the image of wrinkly old men), Old Spice has used a clever tool to speak out to the younger generation of boys and the women’s market– and that is through social networking.

In this phenomenal campaign, former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa, (now known as the old spice guy) uses his devilishly handsome good looks and suave personality to promote the product. In these viral videos, which only aired online through Facebook, Youtube and Twitter, Mustafa utters: “hello ladies. Look at your man, now back to me, sadly he isn’t me. But if he stopped using lady’s scented body wash and used old spice, he could smell like me.” The image of the Old Spice Guy has gone from being your grandad to the hottest guy on the planet…

But enough about him. The remarkable thing about this campaign is the fact that it only used social media to advertise. We all know social media is the new, edgy way of marketing, but this has taken it to a whole new level. For the first 3 days of the campaign launch, instead of just setting up a profile and posting twitter notes, the old spice guy actually responded to people’s comments with a personalised video post – a much pricier way of replying to tweets than normal, but boy did it work! During that period, the company posted over 150 video responses with each one averaging to over 2.8 million views.

Here are some examples of his video responses.

One of the notions of marketing through social networking sites is to make personal connections with consumers, and in this case, Old Spice did just that – addressing each person, by name, with a personalised message that they’ll remember. No mass emailing, no generic responses – each video comment was carefully written to address each individual.   

This had people sitting at computers all afternoon watching the Old Spice Facebook/Youtube/Twitter page for updates, wanting to see what he was saying and checking if their question had been answered. Even celebrities such as Alyssa Milano and Ashton Kutcher wanted to be part of it, showing their support for Old Spice.

Another interesting note is that even though this campaign has not been aired in traditional marketing mediums, it still gains global attention. That is the beauty of viral online marketing. As we all know firsthand, when we see something as awesome as…let’s just say the old spice guy…we immediately share it with ten other people. The company also posted videos targeted at talk show hosts, gossip/news columnists and entrepreneurs such as Ellen Degeneres, Perez Hilton and Guy Kawasaki. How smart is that? These video responses are essentially branded ads, but instead of placing 150 expensive ad spots on TV or in a magazine, they are going through non traditional mediums – influential people in the pop culture market who have their own set of audience and fans, and who would most likely share it with them – cause well, let’s face it, the campaign’s awesome! 

Craig Reiss from Entrepreneur.com claims that this campaign has changed the rules of social network marketing and commentators are calling it the best use of social media ever, and I can’t agree more. It’s clever, it’s fun and it made me want my man to smell like an old spice man!

On that note, have a look at Tim Costello’s parody of the campaign to market world vision. Not quite as attractive as Isaiah Mustafa …but I think he did a great job!

Article Sources

  • Moses, A, 2010, ‘Old Spice guy takes the web by storm’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 July
  • Wei, W, 2010, ‘The most watched videos in July: Old Spice takes over the world’, Business Insider, 2 August
  • Old Spice, 2010,’ Re: @wspencer’, 13 July, viewed: 1st September 2010, viewed 1st September
  • Old Spice, 2010, Re: @LucretiaPruitt, 13 July, viewed: 1st September 2010, viewed 1st September
  • Reiss, C, 2010, ‘Now look here, no learn from this’, Entreprenuer.com, 18 July, viewed 2nd September  
  • Mumbrella, 2010, ‘World Vision seeks the smell of Old Spice’s viral success,’ 16 July
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4 responses

  1. Sandy,

    What a great topic! This is a perfect example of social marketing at its best! I love the way they personalized the messages, but I do wonder, do you think they were actual people that asked those questions, or a clever ploy to get people to think they were interacting?

    Either way, it created a lot of hype and therefore a lot of attention for the brand. This brand that has been around for decades, has successfully rebranded itself, not only traditionally but virally, to the extent that most people of the Y generation would probably not have heard of this brand before, and now consider it a young, trendy and fashionable product, that does what every young man wants…. Gets the girls!

    Viral marketing has such a strong influence in today’s society, especially with the market that they were targeting. And apart from the expensive ‘personalized messages’, this was probably a relatively cost effective way to market the brand (compared with more traditional forms).

    Can’t wait to see what they do next, it can only get better from here!

    September 6, 2010 at 1:29 pm

  2. Those youtube videos were quite a blunt ‘on your face’ re-branding of their product, wasn’t it?

    Another re-branding advertisement which caught my eye was for the energy drink ‘Mother’.

    Its amazing how they could effectively re-brand by accepting the flaws with their previous product version.

    Old Spice went more like re-associating itself with it’s target market than accepting that they have a wrong brand impression with-in the market.

    Or maybe because every other competitor’s after shave ads associated itself with the ‘young’ and Old Spice wanted to join the bandwagon too. ‘Cos, I don’t see any harm in targeting their after shave to only the 40+ age group of men if that’s what they really wanted.

    September 14, 2010 at 8:39 pm

  3. Sandy,

    What an amazing campaign, this guy is now in Australia promoting Microsoft’s new mobile Windows

    (http://www.intomobile.com/2010/10/15/windows-phone-old-spice-guy-isaiah-mustafa/).

    He’s been interviewed everywhere from Sunrise

    (http://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunrise/video/)

    to Nova

    (http://www.novafm.com.au/nova919/photo_old-spice-guy-seduces-more-nova-staff_151976).

    This really is a good example of emarketing.

    October 21, 2010 at 8:54 pm

  4. YES! I heard he was in town! Thanks for the links…I’ve been trying to track down that Nova interview all night :p

    He’s a great spokesperson, and I think Microsoft would definitely benefit from having him promote their new mobile. Even during the Old Spice campaign, there were requests sent via youtube and facebook to have him promote some businesses….and even a marriage proposal!

    October 21, 2010 at 10:28 pm

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