Created by Isabelle Ringnes

For the class Innovation in Digital Marketing I was challenged to come up with a plan to further develop and improve the digital marketing strategy of the hugely successful Old Spice Campaign. 

Summary of Old Spice campaign:

Old Spice, a male specific hygiene company owned by Procter & Gamble, launched the advertising campaign “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” online during the Super bowl- weekend in February of 2010, releasing it on television shortly after. The brand, formerly affiliated with Grandpa, suffered pressure from increased competition within the industry. They needed to rejuvenate the aging brand and make it relevant and interesting to a whole new generation. Their research showed that women made 60 % of all body wash purchases and held sufficient influence over men’s trial and decision. The campaign was carefully targeted to environments and channels where couples where likely to watch the advertisement together.

The ad-agency Wieden+Kennedy joined Old Spice and asked themselves:

-       How can we get couples to want to have a conversation about body wash?

-       How can we successfully introduce a generation to Old Spice that might not have heard of it or associate it with their grandpa?

-       How can we persuade women to purchase Old Spice as opposed to lady-scented body washes?

The campaign featuring TMYMCSL (“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”), cast by former-football player Isahaia Mustafa, quickly became a phenomenon and received significant attention due to its clever use of humor, originality and unanticipated storyline. Within the first three months of 2010 the brand captured 75% of all conversations generated in the category with over half of the conversations generated by women. In a few weeks everyone was talking about the man your man could smell like; attracting attention from talk show hosts like Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey to hundreds of “Old Spice” impersonators and parodies on YouTube.

Old Spice quickly reacted and wanted to maximize the additional “free” attention they were receiving. However, now they wanted to engage their fans more through social media.  They decided that  “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” would interact with users on a more intimate and personal level, urging fans and celebrities to post comments and questions on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. At the peak of their buzz Old Spice gathered a creative team, digital strategists and development producers for two and a half days. During this time they created 186 specifically tailored responses on YouTube ranging from anonymous users to interactions with celebrities with large fan bases.  The “Response Campaign” successfully engaged and attracted additional attention from their target segment and became the fastest growing and most popular campaign in history. In only one day, the campaign attracted more than 5.9 million YouTube views, surpassing President Obama’s victory speech. Within a week, the campaign harvested more than 40 million YouTube views. As a result, the brand expanded their Twitter fan-base with 2700%, boosted their Facebook fan interaction by 800%, increased their website traffic by 300% and became the #1 all-time most viewed branded channel on YouTube. During the six months of the campaign, they generated more than 1.4 billion impressions. Old Spice body wash sales increased 107% compared to the last year, turning the once dated brand into the number one body wash for men. [1]

The Old Spice campaign became a flagship within social media marketing.  The campaign effectively engaged its consumers through successfully blending ingredients from the three marketing media; paid, owned and earned in order to reach their target audience. Starting with traditional paid TV commercials, supplemented by cinema ads, the campaign migrated to an interactive mix of the brand microsite with Facebook and Twitter pages and continued its momentum through consumer interaction and word-of-mouth on social sites and beyond. The latter would not have been possible without the one component that ultimately makes consumers pay attention to a brand; excellent content and storytelling.

Along with skillfully targeting through consumer insights, consistent messages through all channels and a talented creative team, the campaign excelled by quickly recognizing social media as their crucial success factor. They kept videos short, interesting and simple, yet innovative and humorous without suffocating the consumer by pushing the product. The campaign was not cheap, and ultimately became a multimillion-dollar project. Nevertheless, the earned media was substantial. Tech and media blogs nationwide covered the story, extending the value and reach of the campaigns media exposure considerably further than what a few paid advertisements cost.

Analysis of opportunities:

The campaign ran for six months including the “Response Campaign”. In short time their YouTube channel reported more than 160 000 subscribers. This meant that they had built a relationship and “unique” bond with consumers and could use this data to continue marketing their brand at zero cost. However, Old Spice officially concluded the campaign by posting a farewell YouTube video in July 2010. Old Spice lacked a long-term strategy to reap the benefits from the success that was not in sales growth but what could become a long-term relationship with their consumers. For Old Spice to permanently rebrand and appeal to a new generation it was vital to prioritize a long-term relationship with scope and scalability.

In the fast-paced, constantly connected digital society, culture and trends change more rapidly than advertisers can produce. It is therefor fundamentally important that brands keep up with their fans if they want to remain relevant. Competitors are constantly competing for consumer’s attention offering any brand little time to rest and self-praise after concluding a successful campaign. By waiting a whole year to launch a new campaign it would require an entirely new strategy and budget to reengage the once 600 000 passionate fans.


As the campaign reached its peak in June the brand should have addressed the following issues:

-       Where do consumers want us to take them now?

-       How do we keep our fans engaged and passionate about Old Spice?

-       What can we do to leverage the campaigns success and make it an integral part of the brand?

Nurturing the relationship:

The campaign gained a huge amount of affection, creating uniquely passionate and loyal fans across the nation. Their disappointment was evident in the outcry on social media following the final video. Instead of seeking new original ideas to continue the conversation, the brand’s social media accounts were silenced indefinitely.

Rather than formally “closing” the campaign with a YouTube video titled “all good things come to an end”, they should have leveraged the success and continued to interact and engage through their social media channels. Coca Cola does this successfully every day, creating fans that are life-long loyal and passionate towards the brand.

It’s all about the consumer:

By continuing to use their social media channels for marketing and communication purposes Old Spice would sustain their rejuvenated image as a young, trendy brand, reinforce their B2C relationship and be able to do so without much additional cost.

Instagram, Vine, Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, Soundcloud and YouTube should all have been integrated into the Old Spice campaign strategy. To avoid expanding the marketing budget by regularly creating content featuring the main character Isaiah Mustafa, Old Spice should opt for more user-generated content. By encouraging fans to upload Old Spice- related content to their own profiles, they would have improved the prospect that someone else would have created something that would gather similar amounts of buzz online. The success achieved by this tactic was in fact evident as an 11-year old boy uploaded his own version of the Old Spice Campaign, and as a result was invited to guest the Ellen DeGeneres show.[2] Simple measures like this create considerable attention at zero additional cost for the company. However, for the brand to achieve this devotion it is important to nurture and recognize all fans contributions on a individual level.

Contests are proved to generate the most engagement on Facebook. [3] By initiating contests regularly and rewarding them through the means of a retweet, response or recognition of their contributions on the Old Spice’s official social-media profiles fans would feel valuable and part of a community. In a social media environment, consumers tend to rate attention and praise higher than a tangible prize. The feeling of being appreciated and connecting on a personal level amplifies their relationship and loyalty to the brand.

Stay true to the brand, but dare to be different:

A significant part of the success generated was owed to the excellent acting of the former football-player Isaiah Mustafa. As Old Spice hoped, casting an attractive, masculine character appealed to their female targets. This segment became deeply attached to Mustafa and not surprisingly; outrage and hostility emerged online when they attempted to replace Mustafa with a New Old Spice Guy, “Fabio” the following year.

Instead, they should have introduced a female, equally original and humorous profile, immediately following the first campaign to capture the remaining male segment. The new profile would be considered a supplement, not a replacement for the original character.

This initiative would also give them an opportunity to publicly appreciate their devoted female fans. To include them in the process, the brand would launch the:

“Old Spice Guy seeks Old Spice Girl” campaign.

The campaign would challenge female fans to compete to become the “Old Spice Girl” by submitting a short proposal online. Unique women across the nation would upload creative videos to YouTube. Celebrities earlier involved like actress Alyssa Milano and comedian Ellen DeGeneres would be encouraged to submit videos and would attract more attention in the media. Old Spice would nominate five girls and fans would vote for a winner on Facebook. The winner would become the official Old Spice Girl and be featured in their next commercial. This would give Old Spice the opportunity to introduce someone fresh, while at the same time avoiding loosing the many dedicated Mustafa fans. In addition, it would offer consumers a sense of belonging towards the brand’s new commercial due to their personal involvement in the process.

The Uni-Spice:

The importance of women in the rejuvenation of Old Spice was evident in the Old Spice commercials. P&G’s research found that women purchased 60% of men’s grooming products, and were also influential in the trial and acceptance of men’s grooming products[4]. It made perfect sense for Old Spice to target their message to women who may have a part in creating demand, driving the purchase and acceptance.

Taking this into consideration, the new Old Spice Girl could have been featured by launching the uni-sex version of the body wash. The underlying message would be “Because I smell like this, I am the girl the man your man could smell like wants. The couple you could smell like”. The commercial would display an exaggerated perfect couple, similar to the original commercial featuring the exaggerated perfect man.

The campaign would give Old Spice an opportunity to both expand their product line and reserve a larger market share. Taking women’s pre-Old Spice consumer behavior (purchasing only one lady-scented body wash for both individuals) into consideration, it is likely that women would buy just one body wash instead of two if they had an incentive to do so. It would also be easier to differentiate between the two segments for future advertising purposes: the couple and the bachelor.

Deciding the fragrance:

Consumers are more loyal to a brand if they feel a sense of ownership. FritoLays is among the many brands that have asked consumers through social media what flavor they should introduce. Because the launch of a uni-sex product would require women’s actually wanting to use it they would be invited to decide the new scent. Women would be targeted through the advertisement and encouraged to scan QR codes displayed on billboards, magazines, Old Spice products and by doing so would automatically receive samples of the possible 3 new fragrances. They would subsequently be asked to vote for their favorite on Facebook or Twitter by using the hashtag #oldspicesample1 / #oldspicesample2 / oldspicesample3.

In larger metropolitan areas they could have big billboard ads with Mustafa requesting women (with the use of creative and clever text) to smell the banner ads scratch and smell stickers on the bottom. Women would then be asked to tweet their favorite smell after sniffing.

The Spice-Off:

There are few things that create culture and stick as easily to a mind as a catchy jingle.

If Old Spice decided to promote a new product besides body wash, they could introduce the deodorant/perfume/shaving cream as a music video. To further engage their consumers, Old Spice would challenge fans to upload a self-made 30 second jingle/song and submit it to their YouTube or SoundCloud account. Old Spice would ask five mandatory words to be included in the jingle, but would otherwise urge contributors to explore their creative freedom.

Old Spice would nominate ten people who would be invited to perform their song at a real life event. The event would be live-streamed on Old-Spice’s website and YouTube channel for people to cast their votes. “The Old Spice Guy” -Mustafa would be among the audience and be available to take pictures with fans. This would result in many people uploading photos together with Mustafa to their social networks and this would increase Old Spice’ social approval among a younger generation. At the event the audience would have the chance to test the new product line and offer their feedback, giving the brand a great opportunity to use the feedback and improve their product.

The winner of the Spice-Off would be judged on creativity, originality and relevance to the brand. The winner would receive a significant money prize in addition to having their song featured as theme song in their new commercial. By creating not only one, but a series of catchy, absurd and hopefully viral songs related to the brand, Old Spice would be remembered and associated with these contributions forever.

The Old Spice app:

Old Spice launched an automated Old Spice answering machine during the campaign, but the potential to leverage consumers will to invite Old Spice into their personal life was vast. They could integrate all contests, responses, product-lines and ecommerce into an Old Spice application. They could have an Old-Spice “what is your scent” test to determine which Old Spice line matches the consumer, and then give them the option to order the products directly from the app.

They would also create an automated celebratory message for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and the like where fans could manipulate their heads onto the Old Spice Guy’s head while he said something funny and appropriate depending on the use. These would be easy to share with friends on Facebook, email and twitter. Old Spice products would not have been directly advertised in these, but the short segments would still raise brand awareness and give consumers the option to easily create a personal piece of Old Spice-content, and by doing so tightening the relationship with the brand.

Consumer benefits:

People love checking in, posting photos and letting friends know where they are. This is one of the main reasons as to why social media thrives. Old Spice could partner with the social check-in app Foursquare so that whenever someone would check into a venue that sold Old Spice they would receive a “personal” message from the Old Spice Guy offering a discount for a product. This would look something like this:

Make it easier to interact with the brand:

All though the YouTube campaign generated massive interest, not everyone feels comfortable uploading videos to YouTube. By using a strictly photo-sharing platform like Instagram, Old Spice would lower the bar for entering a competition. An important way to increase interaction and visibility is to make the “call to action” extremely simple. Taking into consideration that the most memorable punchline from the commercial is the absurd sentence “Im on a horse”, Old Spice should have created a dual campaign on Instagram urging people to upload a creative photo of themselves with a bottle of Old Spice.  Users would address their photo to @oldspice with the hashtag #imona____ and then fill in the blank with an absurd object that they would be sitting, laying or standing on. Movements like this have proved to become popular, as evident with the planking-phenomenon.[5] The most creative pictures would be posted on the official Old Spice profile with over 17 000 followers giving contributors a great way to increase their following while at the same time giving Old Spice authentic social approval. Social media is a way to unleash creativity, receive feedback and build an image. Since Old Spice is already affiliated with something viral, cool and fun, this would be a typical campaign users would find compelling and easy to contribute to.

Meet your segment where they are:

Old Spice had a mission to rejuvenate their image, targeting men between the age of 18-30. A great way to increase visibility would be to meet their target segment where they are most likely to be found, preferably at a place where it would be natural to use body wash. Old Spice could partner with sports clubs across the nation and install small vending machines with Old Spice body wash samples in the men’s changing rooms. They could introduce a reward program for those who would enter contests through their social media channels by giving them a “coupon” on their smartphones that they could redeem at sports-clubs, offering a discount on a gym-membership at the specific fitness club. This would benefit fitness-clubs and give their targeted segment a chance to try Old Spice. Because Old Spice is considered a masculine brand, being visible at gyms would align with their image and also help Old Spice’s intention of being associated with a sporty, healthy and active millennial.

Make it local and personal:

Social media is about interacting on a personal level, while simultaneously being able to reach a familiar or unfamiliar local and global audience. After the initial YouTube video went viral, there was a surge of people making parodies of TMYMCSL. This would be an excellent opportunity to launch a campaign across America’s small and large communities travelling with an “Old Spice” bus. “The roadtrip” would be advertised across all the social media channels (Instagram, Twitter, Vine and Facebook) and would invite members of the cities to meet in a central area to film a clip (similar to the American Idol auditions) of why they should become “Arkansas/Seattle/New York’s Old Spice Guy”. Guys would meet up, get a few instructions and then film their personal 6-second take on an Old Spice product. The videos would be uploaded to Vine and people would vote for a winner in every city. The winner would be granted the “Old Spice Ambassador” title of their community, receive a years supply of Old Spice, their video uploaded on Old Spice’s web site and be featured in an Old Spice-ad in their local newspaper. Most importantly, the local ad would allow the winner to include a personal message. This could be anything from a shout-out to a mother, congratulations, a self-approval statement or a marriage proposal. This would give the marketing team a chance to authentically advertise their brand locally, letting genuine humor, love and emotion be naturally identified with the brand. It would also satisfy digital natives hunger for recognition by giving them the thrill of attention beyond their community and create nationwide buzz for Old Spice through social media and media in general.

Example of what a personalized Old Spice ad would look like:

Stories like these unite audiences, are sharable and welcomed. Personal, user generated stories would move Old Spice’s brand needle even further, giving the outreach of the campaign an even larger boost. By offering fans an opportunity to engage both virtually and in-real life would amplify the paid advertising, by organically spreading the stories- not the budget. Data shows that custom-content is 92% more effective than TV-advertising at increasing awareness and 168% more powerful at driving purchase preference.

Connect at a deeper emotional level:

Procter & Gamble mission statement reads: “Provide branded products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers, now and for generations to come.”

A brand that aspires to make the world a better place is a brand consumers want to support and be associated with. Old Spice is a brand for men and offers a wide variety of shaving products. During November, in association with the Movember movement, they should launch a campaign to help raise awareness towards health challenges for men. The Movember movement encourages men to grow a moustache for the 30-days of November and raise vital funds to combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges. Old Spice could challenge consumers to save as much facial hair as possible through November and then encourage them to shave it off and send the facial hair back to Old Spice December 1st. During November, all Old Spice shaving cream products would contain a pre-paid stamp and a reminder that for every gram of hair they managed to collect, one dollar would be donated to the movement. Additionally, they would donate 50% of all shaving cream sales through November.  In order to break through the clutter of advertisement, brands need to take risks and dare to think differently. This campaign would attract attention and the goal would be to serve a greater purpose.


In the short-run, the Old Spice campaign was a huge success and became a flagship within social media marketing. However, the arguably misstep was to not sustain and nurture their established social relationships by continuing to engage with consumers and reap the success. A long-term successful social strategy including the measures described should have been implemented and would have kept the momentum of the Old Spice Campaign for years to come.

[1] Old Spice Responses Case Study.

[2] Old Spice by an 11-year old on Ellen DeGeneres.

[3] Social Media Strategies to engage fans.

[4] Mintel: Antiperspirants and Deodorants – US – February 2011

[5] The Planking Phenomenon.