The Ad Campaign That Saved Old Spice

July 31, 2018

Old Spice has been around since the early 1900s, but how has the brand been able to stay current with a new generation? Their successful marketing campaigns have become legend, leading to a massive increase in sales.


Announcer: Unmistakably masculine. Just for a man.

Announcer: Real men. A man. A man. A man's. Man. Man. Man. Man.

MALE_1: Hello ladies.

FEMALE_1: This is one of

FEMALE_1: the most successful marketing campaigns ever,

FEMALE_1: and there is a key reason why.

FEMALE_1: We can attribute its success not to the content,

FEMALE_1: but instead to the audience they target.

MALE_1: Look at your man, now back to me.

MALE_1: Now back at your man, now back to me.

MALE_1: Sadly, he isn't me,

MALE_1: but if he stopped using lady scented body wash

MALE_1: and switched to Old Spice,

MALE_1: he could smell like he's me.

FEMALE_1: The man your man could

FEMALE_1: smell like campaign was a big risk for Old Spice,

FEMALE_1: the biggest shift in their marketing history.

FEMALE_1: In a surprising move,

FEMALE_1: the company targeted women to sell a product for men.

FEMALE_1: [MUSIC] Early American Old Spice was founded in 1937,

FEMALE_1: and their first demographic was women.

FEMALE_1: The founder William Lightfoot Schultz

FEMALE_1: was inspired by his mother's potpourri.

FEMALE_1: Demand for men's fragrances was low because

FEMALE_1: body odor was long considered

FEMALE_1: by many as a sign of masculinity.

FEMALE_1: But throughout the early 20th

FEMALE_1: century companies realized they

FEMALE_1: were not breaching 50 percent of potential customers,

FEMALE_1: and began marketing to men without much success.

FEMALE_1: Advertisers got their break with

FEMALE_1: the effects of the depression in the 1930s.

FEMALE_1: Men lost their jobs,

FEMALE_1: their pride, and a sense of masculinity.

FEMALE_1: Deodorant companies offered a way to get it back.

FEMALE_1: Old Spice was on the forefront.

FEMALE_1: In 1938, Schultz launched Old Spice for men,

FEMALE_1: but how did they define their form of masculinity?


FEMALE_1: Sailing.

FEMALE_1: They decorated their packaging

FEMALE_1: with historically formidable ships,

FEMALE_1: like Grand Turk and Friendship.

FEMALE_1: During World War II,

FEMALE_1: Schultz transformed his factory

FEMALE_1: into a military production facility.

FEMALE_1: Old Spice aftershave then became

FEMALE_1: the scent of choice for American soldiers abroad,

FEMALE_1: therefore globally defining the scent of a masculine man.

FEMALE_1: With the advent of television,

FEMALE_1: Old Spice was able to more directly link

FEMALE_1: their scent to the concept of manliness.

Announcer: Why do so many single men use Old Spice after--?

MALE_2: After shave Lotion. Well Let's see there's is

MALE_2: Julie and Caren and Pegie.

MALE_2: Joel [MUSIC].

FEMALE_2: And in the 1970's they doubled down.

FEMALE_3: There's no question about it.

FEMALE_3: Men who wear Old Spice really understand what girls like.

MALE_2: Girls like it. Is there

MALE_2: a better reason to wear Old Spice?

FEMALE_2: Subtle huh! But these words and in 1990

FEMALE_2: Old Spice sold to Procter and Gamble for

FEMALE_2: three hundred million dollars.

FEMALE_2: Despite new ownership Old Spice marketing was more or

FEMALE_2: less the same as it had been for the previous 40 years.

FEMALE_2: They had a legacy on their side and

FEMALE_2: a consistent older consumer base but

FEMALE_2: they were struggling to reach the younger demographic.

FEMALE_2: With the new millennial consumer

FEMALE_2: this struggle became a nightmare.

FEMALE_4: Here is a new deodorant called Axe.

FEMALE_4: Spray like this to stay fresh all day.

FEMALE_2: Axe Body Spray turned

FEMALE_2: the men's grooming market upside down.

FEMALE_2: They successfully sold to the coveted

FEMALE_2: 15 to 25 demographic with

FEMALE_2: edgy commercials depicting Axe putted

FEMALE_2: regular guys getting the girl.

FEMALE_2: It's the same formula Old Spice

FEMALE_2: used for decades but amplified.

FEMALE_2: Old Spice just couldn't shake their old school reputation

FEMALE_2: and it only got worse for Old Spice.

FEMALE_2: Soon the men's grooming market was

FEMALE_2: crowded with competitors like Dove for men,

FEMALE_2: Nivea Men, Suave Men.

FEMALE_2: Following Axe's success these ones gender

FEMALE_2: neutral brands attacked the newly profitable male market.

FEMALE_2: Old Spice tried to keep up and released

FEMALE_2: a largely unsuccessful swagger campaign.

FEMALE_2: Old Spice was falling further out of favor.

FEMALE_2: They had to rebrand so they looked to the big guns.

FEMALE_2: [MUSIC] Weiden and Kennedy is

FEMALE_2: an American advertising agency responsible for some of

FEMALE_2: the most memorable marketing campaigns in recent memory.

MALE_3: Wieden and Kennedy is an iconic agency.

MALE_3: They really stayed independent

MALE_3: when a lot of agencies were getting

MALE_3: sucked up.It was reflected in

MALE_3: the kind of creative work that you see in this campaign.

FEMALE_2: With the help of Wieden and Kennedy,

FEMALE_2: Old Spice decided to do a 360 rebranding and

FEMALE_2: the older a brand is the harder it

FEMALE_2: is to change consumers perceptions.

FEMALE_2: To shake that perception,

FEMALE_2: Old Spice really had to step out on a limb.

MALE_3: This is classically almost impossible to

MALE_3: take something that's perceived

MALE_3: as a product for my grandparents.

MALE_3: They did not current,

MALE_3: not interesting but the advantage is that

MALE_3: sort of frees you because you really don't

MALE_3: have anything to lose at that point.

FEMALE_2: Luckily Wieden and Kennedy had a plan.

FEMALE_2: P and G own research had

FEMALE_2: uncovered a surprising statistic.

FEMALE_2: 60 percent of men's body washes

FEMALE_2: were actually purchased by women.

FEMALE_2: They had their new target consumer.

FEMALE_5: [MUSIC] They needed to find

FEMALE_5: a sexy competent hypermasculine,

FEMALE_5: but maybe most importantly, funny lead character.

FEMALE_5: They found that in Isaiah Mustafa. [MUSIC]

MALE_4: They pick somebody who is very relatable,

MALE_4: funny, intelligent,

MALE_4: and they played off of the stereotypes of sort of uh,

MALE_4: pro football player, and he wasn't that at all.

MALE_4: He was actually engaging and easy to relate to.

FEMALE_5: They had that their audience.

FEMALE_5: They had their man.

FEMALE_5: Now, all they had to do was implement it.

FEMALE_5: [MUSIC] The Super Bowl is the Mecca for advertisers.

FEMALE_5: Unilever announced, it would be

FEMALE_5: launching a big campaign for

FEMALE_5: Dove Men and care body wash

FEMALE_5: for the Super Bowl in February.

FEMALE_5: Old Spice decided to directly challenge that campaign.

FEMALE_5: But without airing a TV commercial,

FEMALE_5: instead of spending money on the Super Bowl itself,

FEMALE_5: Old Spice surrounded it.

FEMALE_5: And to do that, they looked to

FEMALE_5: the still young sleeping giants, social media.

FEMALE_5: They targeted millennials where millennials lived.

FEMALE_5: The man your man could smell like first appeared on

FEMALE_5: YouTube and Facebook a few days before the big game.

FEMALE_5: And it worked.

FEMALE_5: On day one, the videos were seen

FEMALE_5: 5.9 million times on YouTube.

FEMALE_5: That's more than Obama's victory speech after 24 hours.

FEMALE_5: On day two, Old Spice had eight out of

FEMALE_5: the top 11 most popular videos on the entire Internet.

FEMALE_5: [MUSIC] On day three of the campaign

FEMALE_5: it hit 20 million views.

FEMALE_5: [MUSIC] In one month,

FEMALE_5: Old Spice became

FEMALE_5: the number one all time most viewed brand on YouTube.

FEMALE_5: [MUSIC] The campaign was

FEMALE_5: a cultural phenomenon and Mustafa was the face.

FEMALE_5: He was everywhere doing

FEMALE_5: interviews on Good Morning America,

FEMALE_5: The Today Show, Oprah, and Sports Center.

FEMALE_5: But for Old Spice,

FEMALE_5: this virality needed to pay off.

FEMALE_5: What's the use if it didn't get

FEMALE_5: these millions of viewers to

FEMALE_5: actually purchase the product?

FEMALE_5: [MUSIC] By May 2010,

FEMALE_5: Old Spice sales were up 60 percent.

FEMALE_5: [MUSIC] By July, a

FEMALE_5: 125 percent an all time high for the brand.

FEMALE_5: They were the number one brand for

FEMALE_5: men's body wash. [MUSIC] Old Spice took a big risk.

FEMALE_5: And with help from W and K its risk paid off.

FEMALE_5: It completely reinvigorated

FEMALE_5: its brand and came out looking

FEMALE_5: 50 years younger and in the process

FEMALE_5: unearthed a previously untapped market.

FEMALE_5: [MUSIC] And today, they're still

FEMALE_5: marketing men's body wash to female consumers.

FEMALE_5: In the summer of 2018,

FEMALE_5: Old Spice launched its she knows best campaign,

FEMALE_5: which showcases the influence women

FEMALE_5: have on guys important life decisions.

FEMALE_5: And it looks like this one's working too.