Man, what a campaign. The recent ads for Old Spice body wash released in the US, seem to have hit the sweet spot, big time. Unashamedly positioned as the macho man’s body wash, the ad cleverly stokes fantasy in women and jealousy in men. This double barreled approach is evident in this spot, where a hunk (actor Isaiah Mustafa, a former NFL player) is ‘the man your man could smell like’:
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
In another ad, ‘Did you know?‘, the same man (again on horse back) continues the macho theme. As the copy in Old Spice’s YouTube Channel says : ‘Don’t smell like sunsets and baby powder. Smell like jet fighters and punching’. The third spot smartly reinforces the blurb, ‘Smell like a man, man‘.
Behind this tongue in cheek humour (‘We’re not saying this body wash will make your man smell into a romantic millionaire jet fighter pilot, but we are insinuating it‘), is a great time-proven insight and tonnes of subliminal messages. For a man, being called a sissy or having similar tastes as women (using women’s body wash in the shower for example) is a huge insult. Once that is insinuated he is likely to swing to the opposite extreme and do all he can to prove his machoness. Never mind if he is nowhere as good looking or well built as Isaiah Mustafa. But the killer part of the strategy is to aim the communication at women too. With some brilliant writing – ‘Look at your man. Now back to me. Now back at your man. Now back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me. But if he stopped using lady-scented body wash and switched to Old Spice, he could smell like he’s me‘ – it’s got women’s attention. And oh, innuendos help – what with strapping men on um, er…well-hung horses.
The campaign has become an internet rage – more than 3.9mn views of the theme ad on YouTube, 500000+ fans on Facebook and so on. But the ultimate boost for the creative ego is this tribute from consumers: a couple has set the words of the Old Spice commercial to ‘You fill up my senses’ and posted a video.
Over the last couple of years, the marketing & advertising effort behind the Old Spice brand – be it Hair & Body Wash (‘Is it right for me?’), deodorant (‘Swagger ‘ as the brand promise) or anti-perspirant – points to:
- focused on building a clear positioning & personality for the brand.
- building products based on consumer insights and leveraging those insights in entertaining, relevant advertising
- garnering a new consumer base (some may still see the brand as the old after-shave brand) by creating content that appeals to the new generation – be it the website, TV commercials or promotions.
Great lesson in rejuvenating a brand and content creation. Really, man.