Branding At Its Finest—Cult Brand: Old Spice

In a recent blog post on rebranding, we touched briefly on the incredible marketing campaign and rebranding overhaul Old Spice did in 2010. That said, we thought about and decided the brand needed much more than a short paragraph, but rather its own spot in our ongoing cult brand series to thoroughly discuss the enormity of their achievement.

Old Spice is an American company owned by Procter & Gamble that produces body washes, deodorant, antiperspirants, shampoos and soaps for men. The brand has been around since 1937 and has steadily been successful, but no one could predict the aftermath of the now famous “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad that premiered during the 2010 Super Bowl. In the hours after it premiered, the ad was viewed on YouTube more than 220,000 times. Today, that number has risen to more than 55 million.

After this massive success, Old Spice kept the ball rolling and created more than 180 videos, which were distributed across TV, Print, Facebook, Twitter, etc., that led to 29,000 new fans on Facebook and 58,000 new Twitter followers. Say goodbye to associating Old Spice with your Grandpa, and say hello to a shirtless Isaiah Mustafa on a horse.

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Aside from the fact that these videos were just wacky enough to be wildly entertaining and just short enough to hold our collective attention spans, the brand also achieved their primary goal—reaching a new audience. Prior to 2010, Old Spice was targeted toward men ranging between the ages of 40 and 60; now, Old Spice is ranked as one of the top-selling body washes in the world for men aged 18 to 35.

Now some people may wonder why a men’s body wash brand would use a good-looking man to sell to other men, but studies show that women make up 50 percent of the consumer group and are buying skin care products in an effort to stop their husbands, boyfriends, etc. from using their own grooming supplies. Knowing this, Old Spice built a campaign around an ad that is entertaining for everyone, but specifically used a male sex-symbol to garner female viewers' attention.

Finally, Old Spice managed to keep up their momentum by continually engaging with their followers. As stated above, in the months following the initial ad’s release, the brand put out custom, rapid response videos to questions asked by fans on Twitter and YouTube, some of which featured celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Alyssa Milano and Ashton Kutcher, to name a few. Suddenly, followers felt they were personally engaging with stars, something no other brand had ever before provided with a marketing campaign. In fact, the ad is still so well loved that Tide put out a spoof of it for the 2018 Super Bowl.

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At the end of the day, connecting and resonating with your audience is what will make a video go viral or cause a brand to set new records. This is just one part of developing an unstoppable social media and marketing strategy—something we prioritize on a daily basis here at EMB.