The Perfect Storm: How Old Spice raised the bar for new media marketing

In 24 hours more people watched this summer’s Old Spice social media campaign than Barack Obama’s presidential victory speech.

One can argue that the Wieden + Kennedy campaign took social media advertising to a new level.  Their understanding and execution of interactive media brought a brand to life.  Proctor and Gamble entrusted the production team to execute real-time responses to consumer comments.

The trust allowed strategists to target a variety of opinion shapers, including celebrities and common people, resulted in a viral campaign that has analysts still talking.

If you are unaware of what happened, here’s a breakdown: Old Spice released a commercial in February 2010.  Old Spice released a second commercial this summer.  Then, Old Spice used YouTube and Twitter to interact with people commenting about the brand.  They analyzed and targeted specific individuals who had large followings and influence and blended these audiences with the general public. Proctor and Gamble allowed production teams to post 200 videos to real-time Twitter comments, thus creating a viral campaign and increased brand awareness.

One can argue that this is a prime example of how organizations can extend their reach when they place value, trust and resources in the hands of creative, forward- thinking teams who execute well-crafted plans.  It was — the perfect storm.

Old Spice: Questions

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12 Responses to The Perfect Storm: How Old Spice raised the bar for new media marketing

  1. alervin says:

    I followed this campaign while it was in happening and it really did raise the bar for advertisers. It is the first time a company has turned to social media in such a vast and creative way. When I started following the Old Spice guys’ responses to the questions on Twitter I couldn’t stop. They were all so engaging and funny that I wanted to see them all! Did you know that the Old Spice guy used to play football at ASU?

    On another note, it really was genius the way it was executed. According to his Mashable article sales doubled as a result of this campaign It was brilliant and I don’t think it can be repeated in quite the same way.

  2. alervin says:

    Also, you put the team name of ASCK Communications along with a bunch of others under your category section for this post, but you are supposed to just put your own team name so the Prof. knows who the posts are coming from.

  3. hdfulton says:

    Old Spice has done a great job in sparking new interest in the more than 70-year-old brand. I think their commercials are hilarious, and not only have they gone viral on sites like YouTube, the humor behind each spot has prompted various spoofs.

    A student from Brigham Young University does a great job imitating the original Old Spice man in this spoof:


    • fspangeh says:

      I agree Old Spice has done a great job of keeping up with the times. I don’t know any other 70-year-old deodorant spray company that stays relevant today. They did a great job of incorporating social online media in their public relations campaigning. There are few products cool enough for both grandpa and grandson to wear.

  4. slarsonm says:

    I saw an Old Spice commercial on Thursday night during the NFL kickoff game on NBC. It featured Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens strutting out of the shower covered in soap and hopping on a mechanical raven, then blowing up Saturn. The video now has more than 526,000 views on YouTube (

    Within minutes, Twitter was blowing up and “Ray Lewis Old Spice” was a trending topic. ( Even today if you search “Ray Lewis Old Spice,” on Twitter, people are still talking about it.

    I think this massive social media campaign for Old Spice was an ingenious move by the company to generate new users. And the fact that they are using superstar personalities like Ray Lewis just make the ads all the more appealing. Lewis now stars in two Old Spice commercials that make audiences LOL, literally.

    Old Spice has broken out of the body-wash/men’s fragrance audience, and has now managed to work its way into sports reporting. An article titled: “Monday Night Football: Baltimore Ravens Ray Lewis Use of Old Spice Swagger Prepares Him For New York Jets” analyzes the upcoming game between Baltimore and New York, but also offers commentary on the recent commercials starring the Ravens’ Ray Lewis. Talk about free advertising for the genius company!

    Though completely unrealistic and almost too silly, Old Spice has found their place in commercial history. These are commercials I definitely don’t want to mute.

  5. latipton says:

    As alervin mentioned, this Old Spice campaign has really started something with using social media. Not only did this advertisement campaign raise the bar, but I think it will set the bar for future campaigns.

    After reading this article, I did some google searches to find more information and view more of the commercials. Did you know that one of the commercials featuring former NFL wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa actually won and Emmy? Impressive. Here’s the link:

  6. clangefe says:

    Old Spice, along with Geico and Dos Esquis, are really good examples of how important creativity is with PR. It’s the random, quirky, unexpected aspects of these campaigns that make them memorable.

    When Old Spice took their unique idea and mixed it with social media, of course it was a hit. Being viral nowadays is everything.

    I like that this shows that PR campaigns can, in fact, be fun.

  7. sbfogel says:

    Many times it seems as though public relations professionals come up with an original idea for a campaign, and then never succeed in the follow through. I think that the Old Spice PR campaign was so effective because there was a detailed, fleshed out timeline that was followed until the end. The target audience was exposed to multiple commercials that caught their attention, then hit again with social media components that allowed interaction and product integration.

    Viral campaigns are the wave of the future, and if done as well as Proctor & Gamble’s, can pay off for the client immensely.

  8. shotchk1 says:

    Well done, Old Spice. I loved their campaign, and I am a female who has no brand loyalty to any male antiperspirant and I wanted to buy it!

    The goal should always be to obtain new fans or consumers—gain brand loyalty. The campaign was also clever, humorous and most importantly viral. I would guess that Old Spice’s primary audience is the teen male—get them when they are young and gain brand loyalty—so what better place to launch a campaign that in social media!?

  9. jlmart20 says:

    Why it worked is important to analyze. Cisco Systems Inc. tried to copy what Old Spice did and the plan flopped. Even Mashable missed it.

    Why was the Old Spice campaign successful and why did Cisco fail?

  10. kpang says:

    This Old Spice campaign is genius, and it’s refreshing to see a company utilizing YouTube this way, especially in the area of responding to comments. The first time I saw this commercial was when a few Facebook friends posted the link on their pages. Before I knew it, the Old Spice guy was everywhere! My boyfriend even chose to buy some Old Spice body wash while we were at Target, straying from his usual brand. It obviously had an impact on him!

  11. jhickam says:

    For years, I think Old Spice was looked down upon by younger consumers but this advertising campaign was genius because it was able to get the teen and young adult audiences interested again. The “Old Spice Man” made the product engaging and desirable again because the campaign was cool. I agree with the first comment on this thread that this campaign was so creative that another company will not be able to successfully copy it. Companies can definitely borrow ideas from Old Spice but in order to generate this type of buzz, it will require a fresh wave of creativity that brings something new to the table.

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