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Brand reboot - Old Spice case study

By JAMES COAKES Published 15th Apr 2015
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Back in 2010 Proctor & Gamble launched a very successful campaign around vintage brand Old Spice. They created a brand representative called 'Old Spice Guy', using actor Isaiah Mustafa. 'Mr Mustafa' aimed his message at women, suggesting that they wished that the man in their life looked like him. He then went on to say that while that may not be possible they could still smell like him, by using the Old Spice shower body wash.

Old Spice as a brand has a problem; it's considered by many to be an old man's scent. Many remember their fathers and even grandfathers using it. There is nothing wrong with the scent itself, it just has an old fashioned image.

The campaign was hugely successful. Mentions on social media went through the roof and it was an early example of a Twitter meme which fans took up and interacted with. Mentions of the brand increased from around 1,500 in the months preceding the campaign to over 61,000 in that actual month. The brand's Twitter followers increased in number to 80,000 and today, in 2015, they stand at more than 224,000. One of their ongoing techniques has been to send fans highly personalised responses from 'Mr Mustapha', or more likely a team of social media minions.

Youtube gave the campaign real success. The first video was viewed 29 million times and by now, in April 2015, it has been seen more than 50 million times. Astonishingly Mr Mustapha's response videos combined to give the Old Spice channel 94 million views in 2010, more than Susan Boyle's hit song of the time and President Obama's election speech. All this for the scent that we all know as Old Spice!

Youtube is, when compared to traditional media, an unusual way of advertising. While there are some costs involved when you are promoting a brand you do not have to buy airtime as such. In fact you can earn money from advertising on your channel. It can be income generating, and it is pretty much the opposite business model to traditional broadcasting.

So how did this all transfer into actual sales? Old Spice promotes several versions of its fragrance and this campaign centred on their body wash. Nielsen reported that sales increased by 107% in the month following the launch of the campaign. However, it pointed out that sales had increased by 55% over the three months preceding. So, the campaign undoubtedly boosted the brand but it was on the increase anyway. What has happened since then?

In 2013 Old Spice body wash gained 8% in sales. However, the market was generally increasing; Nivea and Gilette both gained a huge 26% with Gilette gaining market share. This is clearly a highly competitive marketplace. The campaign was promoted as a massive success for Procter & Gamble, who own the Old Spice brand, but whether that translated into a sales increase is debatable. It may have helped to save an aging brand from sliding into obscurity, after all, who buys Brut these days?

This is an example of the marketing strategy of associating a well drawn character with a brand. How many of us are now aware of the Dos Equis beer brand thanks to The Most Interesting Man In The World? Mind you, how many of us have actually bought any Dos Equis beer?

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