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July 19, 2010



John, does your CNN interview exist anywhere to watch back!?

Great summary of a brilliant campaign. Strange how some of the best work seems to always come from some of the most left field of brands! - or is that just my UK head not getting how big Old Spice really is?

Jack Purdy

John: Very glad you made the point that the TV spots, which had been running for some time, are what provided built in interest for this. They were beautifully written and produced and the tongue-in-cheek approach to copy worked with both men and women. The spots transcended their commercial origin to become entertainment--they got coverage in Entertainment Weekly. Every client who asks for a replication of this effort should first be asked, "Okay, are you ready to commit millions to broadcast and cable TV first?"


Jamespoulter: Old Spice is big, but it has waned with the younger generation. This new campaign is brilliant in connecting to the younger audience and re-branding itself as relevant and cool. Instead of pushing their cologne, since most younger men wear designer brands, they have launched their shower gel and pushed their deodorant instead.

Derek Markham

I'm curious to see how a business could attempt such a campaign without the money for extensive TV spots. Granted, the personal video replies were significant - largely due to replying only to influential users - but without the initial ad spots, I think this campaign would have died, IMHO.

As far as driving sales, I'm not convinced that people are now going out to buy Old Spice because of the videos. At least, I'm not. I can admire the creativity, but it doesn't sell me on the product.

Great coverage of the campaign, though!


The videos are brilliant and everyone is talking about the Old Spice brand. However, talk doesn't translate to sales. They haven't really followed up on the success. This past Sunday there wasn't one Old Spice coupon riding the viral train. Roy Wells @royjwells makes a good point in is blog post today, worth the read in combination with this post. http://roywells.com/2010/07/20/will-old-spice-achieve-a-roi/

Success is really defined by what you measure. If it is fans and followers it clearly is a winner. If revenue and loyal customer base is how success is measured? Then there clearly are some questions.

Annie Lynsen

This is a great summary of the campaign. It seems to boil down to "like so many things, success requires time, effort and, of course, money." I agree with you and John that the TV spots were absolutely key in making this effort pay off. They already had brand name recognition and mass appeal for the concept, then took it to the 'Net.

It's also a good lesson for companies that being quirky, funny, and self-referential resonates with people. Sometimes when working in marketing it's easy to get hamstrung by legal departments or VPs who are afraid of appearing foolish if they go with a concept that attempts to be funny. But comedy is risky by its very nature...and if you have the right creative team, the risk factor is diminished.


Great post. One other element of the whole campaign: the creative was directed not to the target customer (men) but to women ("the man your man could smell like") - which made the message more appealing to men, who really don't like to be caught thinking about things like deodorant brands. Yet I noticed many YouTube videos in response to tweets from men. I'd love to see an analysis of how the online engagement was split by gender.

Stephen Denny


The only ROI / sell-through data point I've seen came via Brandweek which quoted IRI as showing sales were down 7% in the 52 week period ending mid June.

This is a bit of a downer for those enthralled with the campaign.

It's wonderful theater, but if the data is correct, it failed to convert passive fans of the video into buyers of the advertised product. And after 6 months of media, it's had enough time to move the needle, even with last week's social media avalanche.

I posted on this last week and was surprised to see the marked differences in the comments between the "buzz is king" faction and the "marketing is supposed to sell something" faction.

Link is here, if you're interested - http://bit.ly/cIdN1r.


Jim FitzGerald

Sorry, but by my definition, this was not a social media campaign, it was a viral campaign using one social media tool, Twitter. (and apparently not all that successful at that). This campaign did nothing to engage the consumer, to create a dialogue with the consumer, to respond to the consumer's input, and it lasted what, a week?... Great viral; not social media by any definition of the discipline.

Scott Gould


Thanks for this - very, very useful!


Steve Haase

Thanks for the post, John. And Stephen, I followed your link and am really wondering about the question of entertainment vs. advertising. According to the data Stephen put together, the Old Spice Guy campaign has not done much for sales over the last 6 months (although it has done a lot for laughs).

But I'd be very interested to see how OS capitalizes on their newly won subscribers at their various channels (YouTube, Facebook, etc.) and if that is able to drive sales.

In the end, however, the product itself needs to deliver. In asking my friends on Twitter about this, the most telling response I got was:

@LisaJohnson I still think the stuff smells like crap but I really, really like the ads...


John Bell

Tremendous comments from all. I was not surprised to hear so many folks be skeptical about whether this program would drive sales. Warc's data that said sales were down was a bit of a red herring. The recently reported Nielsen data confirms my suspicion in the post - this activity significantly correlated to sales (107% increase in last month).

Stephen Denny

John: sorry, didn't see the last few comments until now - the data (limited, I know) seems to indicate a spike after the buy-one-get-one-free coupons - and that the spike lags competitors' movements, too. W+K are the real winners here, but I'd be moving carefully if this were my money being spent. Below the line dollars - the coupons, displays and in-store activities, unsexy as they are - are the big movers.

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