My favourite recent campaign has got to be Old Spice’s Smell Like A Man, Man (Watch here). This traditional 1930s brand is the old favourite of grandfathers everywhere (a bottle has adorned my own 91 year-old Grandad’s shelf for as long as I can remember) and has always marketed itself as a brand for ‘real men’. Of course, the concept of a real man nowadays is somewhat different from that of 80 years ago…
In February 2010, P&G employed Wieden + Kennedy to parachute this rather old-fashioned, out-dated brand back into the public consciousness with an inspired TVC featuring the quintessential man’s man (and woman’s man), ‘Old Spice Guy’. Isaiah Mustafa effortlessly strolled through cliché upon cliché of woman-wooing tactics, and became the first ad in a long time to make me laugh. Yes, it’s stereotypical, yes, it’s a little silly, but it shows Old Spice has personality, the ability to laugh at itself, and is still firmly rooted in the age-old brand’s values.
The ad soon went viral following its launch at the US Super Bowl, but what’s happened since is pretty epic. As much as I love the TVC purely for entertainment, the marketing geek in me also admires the seamless link-up across different media platforms and truly integrated approach. How they’ve used social networking to engage consumers is impressive and, considering the reams of Tweets, Facebook posts and YouTube comments, extremely successful.
Like many other fans, I was disappointed when rumours circulated that Fabio – the Italian model come actor come romance novelist – was to replace the eloquent, attractive Isaiah, and thus burst the appeal of the Old Spice bubble. But then there was hope, with the news that there was to be a man-off between the two, which surely only the ‘Old Old Spice Guy’ could win. So on July 26, 2011, the men went head to head in a digital war – with P&G’s underdog brand always likely to be the winner. Following in the footsteps of innovative brands like Cravendale (see their Thumbcats campaign), Old Spice invited fans to challenge the opponents to various duels – to which the Old Old Spice Guy and the New Old Spice Fabio responded with 40 individual YouTube videos. To my relief, the Old Old Spice Guy was victorious – and P&G learnt that there’s still mass support for the Isaiah Mustafa creative.