Old Spice Man – Old Cologne in New Bottles?

July 19, 2010 Blog 4 comments

Source: Frat House Sports

By now, almost everybody plugged into social media (including my friends Ivan Chew, Kevin Lim, Siva and Lucian) would have heard of how Old Spice, a heritage toiletry brand (used by one’s granddad) managed to reinvent itself through the Old Spice Man Youtube channel. The idea was developed by marketing agency Wieden + Kennedy and involved the shooting of real-time marketing videos while leveraging on social media networks.

Here’s an example of the commercials which have been circulating on Youtube and garnering massive views:

Considered by Techcrunch to be “one of the more creative social media ad campaigns in a while”, Old Spice Man involves a shirtless, muscled man (played by Isaiah Mustafa, an actor and former NFL American footballer) dishing out little video snippets in response to tweets. Cleverly scripted to be witty and charming while oozing lots of masculine hunk appeal, they form part of a Youtube Tweetathon, which spanned a two week period from end June to 14 July (the last video is here).

An example is his response to Digg founder Kevin Rose’s tweet that he was sick below:

…as well as another (out of several) in response to celebrity Alyssa Milano below:

To date, Old Spice has uploaded a total of 205 videos (and counting) on their Youtube channel, which has garnered an impressive 7.8 million channel views, 83.2 million upload views with almost 125,000 subscribers. Naturally, there is an Old Spice Twitter account and Facebook page (its blog isn’t quite updated, unfortunately).

While the campaign is a great marketing idea leveraging on the properties of social media channels like Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and viral marketing, there are several Advertising 101 lessons here:

1) Sex appeal sells. I can’t imagine how the response will be like if the Old Spice Man was old, balding, blubbery and wearing a shirt.

2) Celebrity appeal sells. The most watched Old Spice videos were those made in response to larger-than-life personalities like Justine Bateman, Alyssa Milano, and Kevin Rose. Notice also how Old Spice focuses on the few with the greatest influence.

3) Humour and wit sells. If Old Spice Man was just a voiceless, charmless bare-bodied hunk, the results would have been vastly different.

4) Great scripting and excellent production values sells. With a gazillion Youtube videos out there, you need to be exceptional to stand out. Elements of success from the old TV broadcast model still works here.

5) Being focused and succinct sells. Note how intense and short-lived the Old Spice campaign was on Youtube, before it starts to become draggy and deadbeat.

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. And also the interaction with other social media users.

    Did you see the video where he helps someone propose? That is 1 of my fave. 🙂 And the 1 that he replied to someone who said he will name his first child after old spice if they make a video for him.

  2. Attraction and appeal do not often ‘sell’. Can’t seem to find any information on the growing sales figures; what about the bloggers and readers, are you an Old Spice convert yet?

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