For nearly seven decades, Old Spice has been a staple in men’s grooming, yet its origins are surprisingly feminine. Created by the Shulton Company in 1934 as Early American Old Spice for Women, it wasn’t long before the brand pivoted towards a male audience, laying the foundation for a legacy that would span generations. This exploration looks at Old Spice’s historical rebranding from women’s fragrance to a men’s grooming icon, examining the strategic shifts that have kept it relevant in a rapidly evolving market.

In June 1990, the brand was bought by Procter & Gamble, and quite soon they realized they had a serious problem. Contemporary consumers were not fitting into the Old Spice product any longer, since it became a brand that was associated with the elderly. Old Spice had completely revamped their marketing strategy in order for the brand to reach younger and newer targeted audience (Czerniawski & Maloney, 1999).

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Thus, the The Man You Wish Your Man Could Smell Like or the Smell Like a Man, Man campaign came into being. The brand received a pop culture icon status and became more relevant with the campaigns outrageous, hilarious, and new commercials (Farey-Jones, 2010).

Products Background

Primarily, Old Spice is a body wash. Men are its main target, as typically depicted by its nautical theme, with boats and ships on the bottle. Back in the 1950s, middle-aged men became quite popular with the Old Spice brand. It was referred to as the brand your father used in the 70s, and that phrase is the one that gives todays contemporary shoppers no drive to purchase the product, since it clearly identifies with the older generation (Axon, 2011).

As discussed in the article Old Spice and the Dark Art of Keeping Brands Alive, written by Daniel Farey-Jones, right from the get-go, the Old Spice really was known as Dads brand at best or Granddads brand. The main question that stood out from this was on how to make the product that is firmly established as a dads brand to be relevant to the contemporary audience (Old Spice, 2010).

To address this advertising agency, Wieden & Kennedy saw it essential to make some changes to the product they already had. Their new plan involved making Old Spice marketable to women while also making it relevant to todays consumers. This campaign needed to hit both genders, since a majority of household shopping was done by women who bought the product for their men therefore making it a win-win situation (Parpis, 2010).

The first commercial was written by Kallman and Allen featuring a man who represented the man others were supposed to smell like. They wrote it in such a way that this man could go anywhere, do anything, and yet remain so smooth, while maintaining intense eye contact with the audience (Reiss, 2010).

The design of the commercial was that both women and men would appreciate, love or want to be like this man, while the outrageousness of where the commercial took him incredibly entertained the audience. It appeared in February 2010, and it was a success (Reiss, 2010).

Rebranding of Old Spice

For years, Old Spice was viewed as a brand utilized by the old generation for grooming. Visualization of the product for most Americans conjured images of their grandfathers dresser and old sailors. Old Spice needed a more youthful approach of representing their products and an alternative means of countering the old misguided perception of their brand. They resorted to implementing a unique strategy to reach and talk to the technologically sophisticated youth that were the main target audience.

In the campaign set up, it was vital to reestablish strong consumer connection with the brand, find an alternative to maximizing on the main target group, which is the youth, and have a clearly defined road map on how to achieve the agendas.

The analysis was made on what channels, messaging, and tone would effectively help with attaining new creative targeting of the younger generation. The opinion on what people thought of the product was also of a great importance (Griner, 2011).

A series of case studies were filled with the question as to how public attention centralized around a relatively forgotten aftershave brand product. The attention of an easily distracted audience was successfully harnessed through this humor-laden approach making it key in improving the brands reputation.

The main factor that can be put behind the successful rebranding of the Old Spice man brand can be summed up to be centralized around the successful paid advertisements, aggressive online promotion and interaction, and an efficient website. The basis of the above implementation is the one after an extensive research on the influence the modern technology has on the targeted youth (Parpis, 2010).

Initially, a broad audience got the message through traditional television advertisements. Old Spice was particularly put into a more youthful perspective through the efforts of the viral campaign. As tremendous popularity and word-of-mouth of the brand spread, the brand gained momentum. A new generation of consumers could be engaged in Old Spice terms mainly through their adaption to a market that is no longer influenced by traditional means of advertising (International News, 2009).

The Old Spice campaign imitators have constantly been unable to realize the fact that even though similar communication avenues can be implemented, the message uniqueness that made it a success cannot be recreated. Reviewing the success of the Old Spice campaigns and some others who have tried to imitate it, the fact that comes up is that they have not grasped the notion that the widespread acceptance to the brand is owed almost entirely to the creativity that made the company gain receptive. This was done primarily through integrating different multiple medians as a strategy of exposing campaigns in a wider platform and through the word-of-mouth, which proved highly effective (W+K Old Spice Case Study, 2011).

Sales impact

According to P&G, the sales impact earlier this month of Mr. Mustafa’s 186 highly publicized personalized response videos generated more than a billion PR impressions in a week and more than 34 million aggregate views. Views of the personalized advertisements in a single week surpassed nearly 29 million viral video views of the four TV advertisements done by Mr. Mustafa since February. Mr. Norton stated that Old Spice had become the No. 1 all-time most-viewed YouTube sponsored channel with 94 million views. On July 16, Old Spice had eight of the top eleven most popular YouTube videos. Mr. Mustafa reached more than 100 million followers on his personalized videos after just six days (Nutt, 2011).

Finally, ahead of Mr. Mustafa’s own follower base of 30,000, the effort sent Old Spice to more than 80,000 Twitter followers and 630,000 on its Facebook fan base. Since the launch of the personalized videos, Facebook fan interaction jumped to 800%. traffic also got bumped through the efforts to 300%, a fan created a website that allowed others to freely download messages that sounded like Mr. Mustafa ( (Sternthal, & Craig, 1973).

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According to Old Spice Nielsen data, the overall sales of Old Spice body wash products in 2010 went up by 11 percent. In 2011, it rose significantly. With the launch of the online response videos and two new TV spots, the sales went up a whole 107 percent. The product was dramatically affected, and this is shown by the statistics gathered from the campaign, by which Old Spice cemented their dominance as a reputable brand (Nutt, 2011).

The main reason for writing the commercial was attained as evident by the celebrity responses, parodies, saving the brand from eminent demise and super fans with a new sexy representative, and a brand new boat. The campaign that Old Spice has created truly makes you want your man or smell like the man you wished your man could smell like. Understanding the mindset, values and purchasing target demographic triggers were some of the aspects that were accredited to its overwhelming success (Dine Young, 2000).

By directly responding to the generation that lives off Youtube and Facebook, Old Spice has gained more of an incredibly brand loyalty and fan base, and their online responses were even more helpful. After all, anyone cannot possible stop using the product, it is promoted once they have a commercial dedication to them (Griner, 2011).

In conclusion, it is clear that the man you wished your man could smell like or the other smell like a man, man campaign took the Old Spice to all new levels as a brand while changing the consumers notion that the brand is for the old generation. The first step in the right direction was by creating humorous advertisements aimed mainly at attracting men and women. No matter what type of person one is or what position one occupies in the society, the advertisement draws your attention to the 30 seconds or less hilarious dialogues, killer punch lines, and the incredible set that hunky Isaiah Mustafa is in (Edwards, 2010).

By directly responding to the generation that lives off Youtube, Facebook, Old Spice has gained more of an incredibly brand loyalty and fan base. The online responses were even more helpful, because they promote customer dedication (Griner, 2011).

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