Old Spice Case Study

The following case study for Old Spice was written by Sarah Rowe, a social media marketing student at ECU. Her references are listed at the end of the story:

Look at your campaign, now back to me, now back to your campaign, now back to me. Sadly, your campaign isn’t mine, but if you stopped producing boring, traditional content and really took a chance on social media strategies, you could start building a dedicated following, like me. Look down, back up—where are you? You’re on a boat.

If the introduction to this case sounds a bit like nonsense, then you aren’t familiar with Old Spice’s successful 2010 ad campaign, which arrived in the nick of time for Old Spice. As the company entered 2010, they were suffering from decreased sales and a dying brand image. The number of competitors in the men’s body wash category had been growing and Old Spice wasn’t stacking up, in addition, the brand had long been associated with the scent of fathers and grandfathers, diminishing its appeal to the younger generation, an audience with incredible buying power and influence. It was clear that Old Spice was in need of a boost and that is exactly what happened after teaming up with Wieden + Kennedy, a Portland-based advertising agency, for their latest marketing campaign.

In February 2010, Proctor & Gamble, makers of Old Spice, launched “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign with an online commercial starring former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa.[i] The ruggedly handsome man is shown towel-clad in his bathroom as he tries to convince female viewers to purchase Old Spice body wash so their men will be just like him, or at least smell like him. The commercial premiered on YouTube during Superbowl weekend and has since received more than 26 million views.[ii] Five months later, Old Spice decided to take things to the next level; they wanted to engage and communicate on a more personal, intimate level, and so “The Response Campaign” was born. On the morning of July 13, 2010, Old Spice posted a simple message to Facebook and Twitter causing the campaign to become a viral sensation:

“Today could be just like the other 364 days you log into twitter, or maybe the Old Spice man shows up @OldSpice.”3

For two days, Mustafa, dubbed “Mr. Old Spice,” answered queries on Twitter via YouTube—producing more than 180 videos in real-time.[iii] He responded to individual Twitter users, celebrities, and influencers in short videos continuing with the humor and candidness of the original commercial. In order to choose which comments and questions to respond to, the crew built an application that scanned the Internet and looked for mentions along with the amount of influence of each fan.[iv] The creative team then chose messages that would allow them to produce the best creative content or would have the ability to embed themselves in an “interesting or virally-relevant community.”[v]

Several factors had to come together to make this campaign so successful: the real-time aspect had users waiting at their computers for the next video; it made personal connections with fans; the campaign snowballed virally by getting the media involved; and they were able to get consumers invested in the brand without directly advertising to them—most of the videos never even mentioned the Old Spice brand.[vi]

The result of the campaign was phenomenal; it is the fastest growing and most popular interactive campaign in history.[vii] Statistics of the campaign, listed below, further solidify its place in social media history.5

  • Day 1: Campaign received 5.9 million YouTube views.
  • Day 2: Old Spice had 8 out of the top 11 most popular videos on the web.
  • Day 3: Campaign boasted 20 million views.
  • Day 7: More than 40 million views;
    • Twitter following increased 2700%;
    • Facebook fan interaction went up 800%;
    • Traffic to Oldspice.com increased 300%;
    • And Old Spice became the #1 all-time most viewed branded channel on YouTube.

In addition to the campaign statistics, the bottom line was dramatically affected, as shown below5:

  • Within 6 months: Old Spice body wash sales increased 27% from a year ago.
  • In the last 3 months: sales are up 55%.
  • In the past month: sales are up 107%.
  • Old Spice is cemented as the number one brand of body wash for men.

Old Spice’s campaign set the bar for the kind of social media campaigns that can be launched and since, several brands, such as Cisco, have unsuccessfully tried to imitate the campaign. People everywhere are quoting Mr. Old Spice and Old Spice has transformed their image thanks to their integrated marketing approach.


[1] http://www.marketingpower.com/ResourceLibrary/Pages/newsletters/mtl/2010/7/old_spice_guy_campaign.aspx
[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE
[1] http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/6305-is-it-too-early-to-analyse-roi-from-the-old-spice-campaign
[1] http://www.fastcompany.com/1670314/old-spice-youtube-videos-wieden
[1] http://outspokenmedia.com/social-media/old-spice-social-media/
[1] http://outspokenmedia.com/social-media/old-spice-social-media/
[1] http://wearesocial.net/blog/2010/08/wieden-kennedys-spice-case-study/

Old Spice Links
Old Spice Agency/Client Info
Return to Course Resources Page


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