Old Spice is a brand that we are all familiar with. But is it only a brand for ‘Old’ people? Old Spice, first launched in 1937, boasts a brand heritage of more than 70 years. Therefore the question arose whether or not Old Spice is still relevant for younger generations in modern times.


In 2003 Old Spice introduced its body wash for men and after only a few years they started losing traction. In came Wieden+ Kenedy , the well-known advertising agency. It was up to them to get the perception of “OLD” out of Old Spice. Creating relevance and resonance for young men was not the only issue.

The Insight

The agency discovered that women were responsible for over 50% of male body wash purchases. Old Spice has targeted young men ranging from mid-teen to mid-thirties for many years, osbut it was now necessary to turn the tables. We all know that men have a bit of a resistance when it comes to shopping. It is evident that  men do not always purchase grooming products themselves. The reason might be that they don’t enjoy having to choose between the vast numbers of available products or they simply do not like to spend a lot of time thinking about such things. Nevertheless Old Spice realised that whatever the reason behind this, something had to be done

According to Britton Taylor, a Wieden+Kennedy planner, a major challenge was to evoke conversation about body wash and persuade women to stop buying their men women’s products, as explained so humorously in the ad because…

“Anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady”.

As a result the “Smell Like A Man” campaign was launched in February 2010 and we were introduced to the Old Spice guy.

The Campaign

The campaign needed to target both men and women. Young men and women in our day and age tend to spend most of their time online and on smart phones, something I think we are all guilty of. The brand chose a route of video messaging to integrate their brand promotion with the entertainment consumers were looking for with the focus of simply being entertaining. Old Spice launched a couple of mass mediated television commercials that were filled with humour and then used YouTube as  an integration and communication tool by replying in real-time to consumers comments and questions by posting a video a few minutes later.  In total 186 personal video messages were recorded responding to comments on social media sites.

The Success

This campaign is so spectacular because the first commercial  became an overnight sensation. The advertising company, Wieden+Kennedy Portland, then decided to cash in on this popularity by creating customer response videos on YouTube.  W+K created 186 custom response videos to YouTube comments and tweets, all of them personally scripted and hilarious . Doing so was a challenge in creativity and teamwork. There were always four writers, one was directing and the other three were writing. Given the speed at which they were required to post the videos, Old Spice could not check each one, so the W+K followed a set of pre-set guidelines. Old Spice was left to trust that W+K would stay true to the brand and campaign as a whole.

The final outcome was fantastic.

The campaign went on to become one of the most popular and rapidly growing interactive campaigns, with a staggering  65 million views.

Even today (six years later), Old Spice is 24th in the number of channel views for brands on YouTube (Socialbakers.com, 2016).

  • 9 million YouTube views in the first day
  • 125% sales increase from previous year
  • 2700% increase in social media followers

Witness the brilliance for yourself:




Ashley R. Cummings .2016. Available: http://blog.ispionage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/image-3-old-spice-940×528.jpg [2016, September 12].

Old Spice .2010. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE [2016, September 12].

Old Spice .2010. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLTIowBF0kE [2016, September 12].