“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” Campaign Redefines Social Media Success!
As you may know, social media has literally changed the way companies connect with their target audience online, providing multiple channels for companies to engage on a personal level with digital brand influencers and purchasers. Creating the best social media marketing campaign or digital advertising campaign is one of the most sought after and elusive effective digital marketing strategies today. The creation of these new consumer outlets, has literally changed the way top top ad agencies conduct business, creating entire departments and positions dedicated to developing the ultimate Omni-channel social presence, connecting companies with two-way communication channels via their online fans. Creating a campaign, which is both enticing, personalized and that accounts for both positive and negative feedback from customers is a challenge indeed. Another important factor to take into consideration is the process of monitoring the performance of specific keywords and Internet marketing efforts that are executed through social media channels.
Social media channels can serve as a relatively inexpensive platform for the best social media agencies to help companies like yours to implement online marketing strategies, partly because the channels themselves are easily accessible by anyone with an Internet connection. Whether you’re launching a new product, service or simply opening a new business altogether, social media campaigns have the potential to generate buzz and big business results when done right.
Successful social media campaigns have a number of common characteristics including quality content, on- and offline push marketing, measurable data, well branded trust and value offers. Well-crafted social media marketing has the potential to build long-term loyalty with your customers and boosted sales and ROI.
In my opinion, one of the most famous and brilliantly executed illustrations of a social media campaign created by one the top advertising agencies is the Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign. You can watch the video here:
Although it’s an older campaign; the relevance of this digital strategy campaign’s success is as critical today as ever. Following is a case study our digital strategist conducted on the campaign, breaking out the crucial elements contributing to its success.
Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” Campaign Analysis
During the February 2010 Superbowl, Procter and Gamble (P&G) released a commercial produced by Wieden and Kennedy to try to stimulate sales for their lagging men’s aftershave product, Old Spice. “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign went on to become one of the most successful integrated marketing advertising campaigns of 2010. The TV ad even won the Film Grand Prix at Cannes, France. Today, that ad posted on YouTube has more than 50 million views and caused a viral sensation via multiple communication channels launched online.
Using the Old Spice example, my digital marketing case study will prove that it is possible for a company to significantly increase sales of a mature product-line through calculated risk-raking and creative genius, rather than reformulating the product itself. While P&G did repackage Old Spice three years prior to the “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, they’ve never reformulated the scent and the repackaging at that time did not notably impact sales. Essentially, it was Wieden and Kennedy who took an outdated, old-fashioned (some might even say smelly) old man’s cologne and modernized the brand through an intelligently applied creative ad campaign.
Old Spice for men was originally created in 1938, which makes the brand over 60 years old. What is unusual about this particular multi-channel campaign is the fact that P&G literally took a gamble to drastically change market perception of a successful brand with a long-standing history. The ad campaign used tongue-in-cheek humor and innovative communication channels to push the boundaries of the brand in order to reach a younger audience demographic. The result was that Old Spice connected with a new audience and increased sales without ever changing the formula. The product itself was practically irrelevant. The ad campaign on the other hand, was a skyrocketing success. What the company did to execute the campaign and why it worked:
The TV commercial starts out featuring a shirtless, toweled Isaiah Mustafa (actor and former NFL wide receiver) addressing ladies about how a man could do anything if he uses Old Spice’s brand of shower gel and cologne. The monologue is as follows: “Hello ladies, look at your man, now back to me, now back to your man, now back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me. But if he stopped using lady’s scented body wash and switched to Old Spice, he could smell like he’s me.” The commercial then pans to Isaiah, still shirtless, wrapped in a beach towel and then in white linen pants on a yacht and the monologue continues: “Look down, back up, where are you? You’re on a boat, with the man your man could smell like. What’s in your hand? Back to me. I have it, it’s an oyster with two tickets to that thing you love.” (Tickets appear in a large seashell). “Look again.” (Tickets change to diamonds streaming out of large seashell). “Tickets are now diamonds. Anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady.” The ad then pans to Isaiah on a white horse (still shirtless of course). “I’m on a horse.” Horse nays and tagline appears: “Smell like a man, man. Old Spice”
Extending the brand beyond the TV commercial and YouTube video, the campaign was then launched on Facebook, Twitter, it’s own website, on a blog, via an Old Spice Voicemail Generator and then Isaiah began receiving invitations to appear as a special guest on talks shows such as Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres and eventually, personally responding to more than 180 questions/ comments via new videos released online.
The idea of all of this phenomenal fanfare, was to take a brand that was considered to be your “dad’s aftershave2” and make it current and relevant in a growing competitive market which includes 20+ brands, including formidable competitors such as: Dial, Dove, Nivea and Irish Springs and which is dominated by Axe. While Axe is positioned for “hormonally charged teenagers and 20-somethings”, “Old Spice positions itself as the grown man’s shower gel…for men who are young enough to consider using scented shower gel, but are old enough to have an adult lifestyle that includes a mature relationship.”1
Wieden and Kennedy claims that the mass media exposure has reached more then 1.4 billion campaign impressions and that “more people watched its videos in 24 hours than those who watched Obama’s presidential victory speech!”2 In addition to the TV commercial and YouTube video, the campaign extended to multiple communication channels online, including:
• A dedicated website who’s traffic has spiked more than 300% since the launch of the campaign
• #1 Most Watched Branded YouTube Channel
o Updated YouTube Old Spice videos
o Behind the scenes Old Spice Fiji video
o Multiple Parody videos:
• The Cookie Monster Parody has over 11 million views!
• The Child Parody has nearly a million views:
• The Old Spice Facebook Fan page has over 2.5 million “Likes”
o Ranked 12 out of 20 top Facebook Fanpages by INC magazine
• 180 videos created by Isaiah Mustafa to respond to fans
• Appearances on the Oprah Show, Ellen DeGeneres’s show
2) Target Audience:
The campaign is aimed at both women and men: the Old Spice Guy addresses “Ladies ” at the beginning of the commercial and throughout the ad, but the tagline at the end is, “Smell like a man, man.” According to Wieden and Kennedy, women make more than half of all body wash purchases; so they strategized a way to get couples to talk about body wash and for the first time, targeted both men and women together as a couple. The idea was to get the couple talking about the best body wash for the guy, and then to get the woman to go to the store and put the product in her cart and buy it.
The media buys where the ads were placed were purchased specifically on the criteria of targeting couples aged 18-34. Example placements included: during American Idol, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the show Lost and in previews for the movie Valentine’s Day. The results were that “In the first three months of 2010, the brand captured 75% of all conversations in the category, with over half of this buzz generated by women.”2
The campaign is considered to have successfully targeted both men and women, but most importantly in building relationships with the men who use the product: “It’s been almost 2½ years of not taking ourselves too seriously,” says Jay Gooch, Old Spice brand spokesman. “And we’ve achieved the goal of deepening our relationship with 18-to-34 males.”3
What is interesting to note is that when P&G first purchased the Old Spice brand in 1990 from American Cyanamid, the majority of the brand’s target audiences were men over the age of 50. P&G quickly realized that as their demographic began to age and die-off, they would begin to lose market share and sales. So they began an initial strategy to target younger men to bring them into the brand sooner and keep them there longer. From what I can tell in my research, P&G were ok with cannibalizing the older demographic in order to fuel sales with the youth audience…and through the “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, their strategy paid-off.
In terms of credibility, I believe the campaign starts out using goodwill. They establish trust with the audience via a good character, namely Isaiah Mustafa. Isaiah was already a well-known NFL wide receiver and successful actor who had previously appeared in numerous TV shows, including NCIS, Days Of Our Lives and Ugly Betty. Isaiah is fit, handsome and articulate and thus a pretty believable character. He is also likeable, humorous, and some might even say loveable. He’s positioned to women as a sex object and metaphorical modern-day knight in shining armor on the white horse (minus the armor). He could also potentially be seen as the protagonist in any standard romance novel. For men, he is the man men aspire to be like. What man doesn’t want to be a famous football player or actor? The sex appeal comes from capitalizing on Isaiah’s fame and of course on his immaculate pecs and abs by showing him shirtless in every single shot. The ad keeps the audience in a suspension of disbelief as Isaiah is transported seamlessly from a bathroom to a yacht to the back of a horse on a white sand beach somewhere.
The campaign moves from public/mass persuasion of TV/video and interpersonal messaging, to deeply personal, highly targeted responses. Wieden and Kennedy did this by implementing a two-way communication channel with fans via multiple sites online, starting with Facebook. “Facebook is a significant part of this 73-year-old brand’s newfound edge, says P&G spokesman Mike Nortan, pointing to the comments posted by millions—1,314,456 to be exact—of smitten fans.” “Old Spice uses Facebook to connect with our fans on a one-to-one basis,” he says, adding that promoting active discussions and product giveaways on the page have built brand loyalty among customers.”4
The Old Spice Twitter site experienced growths in tweet conversations from a couple of thousand to over 61,000 tweets in a single day. People wanted to hear what Isaiah had to say. Isaiah then took the conversation a step further with the help of Wieden and Kennedy, actually sifting through hundreds of messages on the social networking channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Blog responses to create more than 180 video responses to questions and comments posed by fans. The videos actually address specific fans by name/id to create a more intimate, personal, one-on-one relationship with the fans. The fans themselves could then take personalization another step further by commenting on and sharing the video responses and even by adding Isaiah as the voice in their own personalized voicemail message on their cell phone.
To me, this level of personalization truly addresses emotional appeal across multiple categories. First of all, the videos and video responses are funny. And in this case, the humor works really well. One of my favorite videos is the one where Isaiah signs off to his followers and then immediately afterwards, a fish drops from above and into his hands, proclaiming “Silverfish handcatch!”
Secondly, the entire campaign addresses individual alienation. It targets people who want to be part of a group. How so? The responses on YouTube in terms of the parody’s created by people mimicking the campaign are a perfect example of how well the campaign “hit the nail on the head”. There are hundreds of videos from people copying the campaign and thousands of comments on the videos themselves, exemplifying the fact that people wanted to be part of this campaign. Furthermore, many of the parody videos have more than a million views, meaning that people were watching the parody’s nearly as much as some of the original content, thus participating in the responses of others (or participating in the “group).
The campaign also addresses self-esteem. To say, “smell like a man, man” is pretty specific. It gets women to want their men to smell better (and hopefully to look like Isaiah Mustafa in the process) and it gets men to want to smell better and be more “manly” by using the body wash that an NFL wide receiver and actor uses.
In terms of sex appeal, well, just look at the guy. Mustafa is hot and as I previously mentioned, the ads across the board capitalize on his handsome looks, articulate voice and pristine pecs and abs. He is shirtless in every single visual image. Clearly, the campaign is trying to use sex appeal to sell.
The campaign seems to go for the status angle, by putting Mustafa on a yacht; however, the creative is done in such a way as to still be tongue-in-cheek humor. The status of the yacht is really sort of a “fake-out”. I believe that the yacht and diamonds are there not so much as for status, but really as a way to catch the women. (Remember, women are the key purchasers of body wash products in consumer households). What woman doesn’t want to be taken on a yacht ride with her man or be given a diamond? Either way, it worked! Before the campaign, Old Spice was thought of as a dying brand. After the campaign, the brand was successfully repositioned to go after a younger, more current audience.
Symbols used in the original ad campaign include: a yacht, tickets to a show, diamonds, and a white horse. For me, the yacht seems to represents wealth, but I feel it is really more about having a dream date with a shirtless Isaiah. The tickets represent romance – i.e.; if my man uses this body wash, he’ll actually plan a date for me (and maybe the date will end up on a yacht afterwards). The diamonds represent love – they are reminiscent of (or a take on) the DeBeers “Diamonds are Forever” tagline. And the white horse is of course the ultimate in romance modernized; my knight coming to take me away on a white horse. The romance idea is modernized using a famous NFL player/actor in white linen pants and no armor, but still using the timeless symbol of the white horse.
In the updated Fiji commercial, they use fireworks, a harpsichord, water, chocolate fountain, grand piano and fireplace. All of these represent romance and the fireworks, water, and fireplace specifically allude to making love or having sex.
The campaign also did a superb job in terms of branding and consistency. Every single channel implemented uses similar imagery, language, colors, styles, fonts etc. There is no disconnect between look and feel of the Facebook page versus the website, the YouTube branded channel or Twitter. The consistency of the brand created a unified voice across the multiple channels truly extending the brand presence online and I believe contributed towards Wieden and Kennedy achieving the 1.4 billion campaign impressions.
A) Was the campaign successful?
In terms of pure media exposure: yes, absolutely incredibly successful. It’s one of those once in a lifetime campaigns where everything lined up for phenomenal skyrocketing success.
• 1.4 billion campaign impressions
• 50+ million YouTube views
• #1 Most Watched Branded Channel on YouTube
• More than 2.5 million Facebook fans
• Top 12 of 20 Best Company Facebook pages
• 250,000 Twitter followers with more than 61,000 comments in a single day
• 300% increase in website traffic
B) The campaign is a huge viral and media exposure success, but has it increased sales?
The answer is an emphatic yes! According to The Nielsen Co. and new data from SymphonyIRI Group…. “Over the past three months, sales jumped 55 percent and in the past month, they rose 107 percent”5: making Old Spice the #1 scented body wash for men. This is truly one of the most successful ad campaigns of 2010, if not the past decade!
C) What can we learn from this campaign?
What I learned is the following:
• A new scent did not sell more Old Spice (the product was never reformulated).
• New packaging and branding did not sell more Old Spice (the packaging was redone three years ago without a large, incremental increase in sales).
• Targeting a younger audience demographic did not sell more Old Spice. P&G began targeting away from men 50+ and towards men 18-34 more than 10 years ago. (They may have had a small lift in sales between then and now, but nothing like the 107% growth generated from this particular ad campaign).
• The humorous idea of tongue-in-cheek advertising did not sell significantly more Old Spice (P&G began the move towards irreverent ads in 2007).
• Based on the above, the product seems almost irrelevant.
• What sold more Old Spice was an incredibly creative, well executed advertising campaign that connected with people at a deeply intimate, personal level, inspiring two-way communication with the brand as well as individual contributions of people’s own videos, comments/feedback. The campaign was not only pure creative genius, it successful garnered audience participation through multiple digital channels online to connect with consumers to sell more product.
• The genius advertising campaign that effectively used goodwill, personalization, emotional appeal, symbolism, individual alienation, self-esteem and sex/romance…is what sold more product!
Article Research Sources
1 Old Spice, a Social Media Success Story by Jim Reynolds. July 10, 2010.
2 Wieden and Kennedy’s Old Spice Case Study by Robin Grant. August 10, 2010.
3 USAToday Ad Track: Kraft, FTD, Western Union adjust ads for recession. Bt Theresa Howard. May 11, 2009.
4 INC magazine: 20 Best Company Facebook Pages. March 2011.
5 Brandweek: Old Spice Campaign Smells Like a Sales Success, Too. July 10, 2010
By Noreen O’Leary and Todd Wasserman