Yuma 4×4

Media and Communications

The Ad Campaign That Saved Old Spice – Cheddar Examines

The Ad Campaign That Saved Old Spice – Cheddar Examines


Unmistakably masculine. Just for man. Roman. Man. Mens. Man. Man. Hello, ladies. This is one of the most successful marketing campaigns ever and there is a key reason why. We can attribute its success not to the content, but instead to the audience they target. Look at your man, now back to me, now back at your man, now back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me, but if he stopped using lady scented body wash and switched to Old Spice, he could smell like he’s me. The man, your man could smell like a campaign was a big risk for Old Spice, the biggest shift in their marketing history. In a surprising move, the company targeted women to sell a product for men. Early American Old Spice was founded in 1937 and their first demographic was women. The founder William Lightfoot Schultz was inspired by his mother’s potpourri. Demand for men’s fragrances was low because body odor was long considered by many as a sign of masculinity. But, throughout the early 20th century, companies realized that they were not reaching 50 percent of potential customers and began marketing to men without much success. Advertisers got their break with the effects of the depression in the 1930s. Men lost their jobs, their pride, and the sense of masculinity. Deodorant companies offered a way to get it back. Old Spice was on the forefront. In 1938, Schultz launched Old Spice for men. But, how did they define their form of masculinity? Sailing. They decorated their packaging with historically formidable ships like Graham’s Turk and Friendship. During World War II, Schultz transformed his factory into a military production facility. Old Spice aftershave, then, became the scent of choice for American soldiers abroad. Therefore, globally defining the scent of a masculine man. With the advent of television, Old Spice was able to more directly link their scent to the concept of manliness. Why there so many single men use Old Spice aftershave lotion? Well, let’s see. There’s Julie and Karen, and Peggy, Joel. Into the 1970s, they doubled down. There’s no question about it. Men who wear Old Spice really understand what girls like. Girls like it. Is there a better reason to wear Old Spice? Subtle, huh? But, this worked. In the 1990, Old Spice sold to Procter and Gamble for $300 million. Despite new ownership, Old Spice marketing was more or less the same as it had been for the previous 40 years. They had a legacy on their side and a consistent older consumer base, but they were struggling to reach the younger demographic. With the new millennial consumer, this struggle became a nightmare. Here’s a new deodorant called Axe, spray like this to stay fresh all day. Axe Body Spray turned to the men’s grooming market upside down. They successfully sold to the coveted 15-25 demographic with edgy commercials depicting Axe coated regular guys getting the girl. It’s the same formula Old Spice used for decades, but amplified. Old Spice just couldn’t shake their old school reputation and it only got worse for Old Spice. Soon, the men’s grooming market was crowded with competitors like Dove for Men, Nivea Men, Suave Men. Following Axe’s success, these once gender neutral brands attacked the newly profitable male market. Old Spice tried to keep up and released a largely unsuccessful swagger campaign. Old Spice was falling further out of favor. They had to rebrand, so they looked to the big guns. Wieden and Kennedy is an American advertising agency responsible for some of the most memorable marketing campaigns in recent memory. Wieden and Kennedy’s an iconic agency. They really stayed independent when a lot of agencies were getting sucked up. It was reflected in the kind of creative work that you see in this campaign. With the help of Wieden and Kennedy, Old Spice decided to do a 360 rebranding and the older a brand is the harder it is to change consumers perceptions. To shake that perception, Old Spice really had to step out on a limb. This is classically almost impossible to take something that’s perceived as a product for my grandparents, dated, not current, not interesting. But, the advantage is that frees you because you really don’t have anything to lose at that point. Luckily, Wieden and Kennedy had a plan. P&G’s own research had uncovered a surprising statistic. Sixty percent of men’s body washes were actually purchased by women. They had their new target consumer. They needed to find a sexy, confident, hyper-masculine, but maybe most importantly, funny lead character. They found that in Isaiah Mustafa. They picked somebody who’s very relatable, funny, intelligent, and they played off of the stereotypes of a pro-football player and he wasn’t that at all. He was actually engaging and easy to relate to. They had their audience, they had their man. Now, all they had to do was implement it. The Super Bowl is the Mecca for advertisers. Unilever announced it would be launching a big campaign for Dove Men in care body wash for the Super Bowl in February. Old Spice decided to directly challenge that campaign, but without airing a TV commercial. Instead of spending money on the Super Bowl itself, Old Spice surrounded it, and to do that they looked to the still young sleeping giants. Social media. They targeted millennials where millennials lives. “The man, your man could smell like” first appeared on YouTube and Facebook a few days before the big game, and it worked. On day one, the videos were seen 5.9 million times on YouTube, that’s more than Obama’s victory speech after 24 hours. On day two, Old Spice had eight out of the top 11 most popular videos on the entire Internet. On day three, the campaign hit 20 million views. In one month, Old Spice became the number one all time most viewed brand on YouTube. The campaign was a cultural phenomenon and Mustafa was the face. He was everywhere, doing interviews on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Oprah, and Sports Center. But, for Old Spice, this virality needed to pay off. What’s the use if it didn’t get these millions of viewers to actually purchase the product? By May 2010, Old Spice sales were up 60 percent. By July, a 125 percent, an all time high for the brand. They were the number one brand for men’s body wash. Old Spice took a big risk and with help from W and K, its risk paid off. It completely reinvigorated its brand and came out looking 50 years younger. In the process, unearthed previously untapped market. Today, they’re still marketing men’s body wash to female consumers. In the summer of 2018, Old Spice launched its She Nose Best campaign, which showcases the influence women have on guys important life decisions, and it looks like this one’s working too. Let us know what you think in the comments below and please like and subscribe.

100 thoughts on “The Ad Campaign That Saved Old Spice – Cheddar Examines

  1. I a teen, personally LOVE the scent of old spice. I frickin love whenever my boyfriend wears it. Axe also has a scent that is super similar, to where I can barely tell the difference between the 2 if u still want to wear axe for some reason

  2. I only got into Old Spice because of their cologne…and the rest just followed.

    Now if only they would push the original sent body wash more in stores!

  3. I love how fir a second axe did good then the 8th graders go ahold of them and then took showers with axe and made it absolutely terrible

  4. I'm a female and I've been using old spice deodorants (not antiperspirants) for three years. The ones with animals. They smell so sweet and nice lol and they work so much better than female deodorants.

  5. Why does "because girls like it" gets a snarky comment while "unfortunately, your man isn't me" gets praised… bit biased arent we.

  6. Old Spice literally was my father's aftershave when I was a kid. I never thought I'd use it and then Mustafa should up. Today, with the exception of cologne, all of my skin and hair hygiene products are Old Spice. Crews vs Mustafa?!? I'm a fan of both but Mustafa wins…so damn smooth. Crews commercials were too extra for me. I stopped looking up the commercials after Mustafa's departure which was ok 'cause the campaign already did it's job.

  7. I'm in Australia and I use Old Spice. I never had any preconceived ideas about Old Spice being an old brand. I just thought it was a good product that actually lasted for the whole day.

  8. Thanks to these "FOR MEN" campaigns, I can't just use "women's" detangler shampoo and skin smoothing body wash.

  9. Axe is targetted for scrawny guys with no women in their lives to buy them toiletries who have an insecurity about being single thus the hot models love a guy with axe ad.

    Old spice is for attached men or mature men. So they have to target the women who pick it up for them.

    Axe is tacky and compulsive to women bc of the ads. So they more than likely do not buy it.

    They blame it on the smell but u cant really tell which is which. Its the ad. Too cringy. Too desperate. So women say it smells bad.

    Edit: also the ads are funny n a lot of dads had the old spice after shave making it nostalgic n modern at the same time.

  10. My dad wore Old Spice, but interestingly enough, I plan to add Old Spice to my collection in the near future. The commercials definitely helped me form my opinion.

  11. we dont have old spice here but their ad productions are actually impressive that i want to get old spice for myself

  12. It is true my wife chooses and purchase my grooming products, and one day I ended up using old spice…hhhmm

  13. honestly. im a woman but i was the one that introduced my male roommate to old spice because of Terry Cruise's commercial. and he stuck with it for over a yr now. also i hate Axe's products, it smells too damn strong. like i can smell him from 10 ft. away and it's linger in the bathroom forever.

  14. 3:59 I really appreciate that nice drifting back into the shadows effect. Whoever came up with it did a great job.

  15. Lolz… I switched to old spice partially because of the ad… and because I didn't want to smell like overly fragrant fuckboi with my axe body spray anymore. No woman was involved in my switch. Plus my father used to used it too. I think most kids nowadays grow out of axe body spray.

  16. I actually am surprised not to see Terry Crews here but let's face it Isaiah is the one who really turned things around for them. He is still so well-known and beloved nowadays that he actually appeared an ad on YouTube to advertise Hulu and people still recognize them and a lot of people including myself purposely clicked on that ad because he was in it. Although I also clicked on it because I love Hulu!

  17. And now this campaign has been resurrected and is currently being aired in Spain, and is a phenomenon with the 40+ people. Everybody is quoting the ad around here.

  18. Old Spice products do not smell anything like the original despite being labeled "Original". I've purchased the Old Spice After Shave recently seeking that old Old Spice smell and was disappointed.

  19. Old spice gave me a chemical burn on my armpit. I emailed them with pictures and everything and they just said "we're sorry, here's a coupon for some more old spice"

  20. It took them that long to realize that women did the shopping? Had they never walked into a Sears store before? Take a look at the men's section of any department store. Who is there? Single men, teen boys with their mothers and middle age and older women shopping for husbands, sons, grand sons etc. We don't generally buy our own underwear, soap, shaving products or deodorant. Other than us single guys most men have trouble finding the aisle where they would even find these products.

  21. Hello, ladies, look at your comment, and now back to mine. Now back at your comment, and now back to mine.
    Sadly, your comment isn’t like mine, but if you stop using ladies scented body wash and switch to Old Spice, your comment could smell like it's mine. Look down, back up, where are you? It's 12 am and you’re in your bed, surfing Youtube for cat videos when you should be sleeping. Look at the clock again, it's 3 am. Now you're calculating how much sleeping time is left before you have to wake up to continue your daily drudge through this meaningless existence you call life. Nothing is possible unless you smell like Old Spice and not a lady. I’m on a horse.

  22. My mum bought me my first shaver, aftershave and deodorant.

    Now my wife buys them for me.

    But here's the thing, i didn't care about the brand but they both did.

    The deodorant and aftershave brand? Old Spice

  23. Clearly this campaing worked in the US despite the name, but I don't see it working in the UK, but a similar strategy could work for another brand. In the UK the brand pretty much vanished. Many young people won't even be aware of it despite it having an iconic status at one point.

    In the UK stick deodorants are kind of an old man thing, and roller deodorant too feminine. Both men a women are increasingly using sprays. Gender neutral brand have had some success, but limited.

    Old Spice, Imperial Leather, Brut. These don't sound like brands that target young people. Imperial Leather changed it focus on shower gels that had more modern colour that their soap. Especialy more deep cleaning ones. Though they were one of the worst offenders of using micro plastic beads. When that ban came it becuase it was ending up in the waterways and inside of fish, I think that affected the feeling of using it (which was perhaps more of a masculine feel). Not particularly good for you skin though.

  24. Clearly this campaing worked in the US despite the name, but I don't see it working in the UK, but a similar strategy could work for another brand. In the UK the brand pretty much vanished. Many young people won't even be aware of it despite it having an iconic status at one point.

    In the UK stick deodorants are kind of an old man thing, and roller deodorant too feminine. Both men a women are increasingly using sprays. Gender neutral brand have had some success, but limited.

    Old Spice, Imperial Leather, Brut. These don't sound like brands that target young people. Imperial Leather changed it focus on shower gels that had more modern colour that their soap. Especialy more deep cleaning ones. Though they were one of the worst offenders of using micro plastic beads. When that ban came it becuase it was ending up in the waterways and inside of fish, I think that affected the feeling of using it (which was perhaps more of a masculine feel). Not particularly good for you skin though.

  25. I don’t use old spice and here is why: I perceive Old Spice’s ads as extremely sexist and homophobic. These ads are the representation of a company with distorted ideas of gender and sexuality. Plus: Every other brand smells better. 🤷🏻‍♂️

  26. Also how genius it is to target women consumers. Wow when you include women as part of the purchasing power you win. Radical!!!

  27. But he looks so gay in these commercials… why did women fall for him and this campaign?

  28. Terry Crew came much later after Mustafa had re introduce the brand to the public so why wouldn't they talk about what actually got the company back in the game which was W&K agency and the actor

  29. I know the video wasn’t about his campaign, but I still think there should’ve at least been a passing reference to Terry Crews. He defines old spice.

  30. Terry crews has moved into unmasculinity by pushing masculinity as being toxic. He had women to please starting with his wife. I wouldn’t want to identify with him either.

Leave comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.