Who'd have thunk it? Old Spice
is now the top-selling body wash for men in the USA - primarily because of THAT commercial. You know the one. Isaiah Mustafa, telling female viewers to "look at your man. Now back at me".
And not just because the commercial has run on prime-time telly. No, the success of this campaign is worldwide viral marketing on YouTube. At the time of writing the Old Spice
YouTube channel is the most viewed channel ever, with in excess of 145,000,000 page views. The ad itself
has been viewed more than 20,000,000 times. Mustafa has responded to requests via Twitter and filmed another 180 or so videos.
Now, most men don't have the cut, muscly, eye-candy physique of Mustafa, or his onscreen charisma. On or off a horse.
And Old Spice
, frankly, ain't no L'Eau D'Issey Pour Homme
. It's the smell of childhood for many of us. Did your Dad wear it? My grandfather did. My aunt gave him one of the two basic supermarket/chemist shop choices (Old Spice
or Blue Stratos
) every birthday and Christmas. For me, Old Spice
is my grandfather.
For those of us who remember the scent on our dad, grandfathers and uncles, do we want to smell it on our lovers? Isn't there something a little incestuous about that? Something you might like to talk to your shrink about?
But then Old Spice
isn't aimed at our age group. Remember here that Old Spice
was very uncool for decades; scents for men rose to giddy heights in the 70s and stayed there; Old Spice, Blue Stratos
and their friends were left behind in the wake of new, hip and expensive scents. Old Spice
has been a desperate hanger-on, the cheap supermarket alternative. Nobody much bought it for years as much nicer-smelling blokey scents were out there. So for Gen Y buyers, the scent is new. Their dad wouldn't have worn it, even their grandfather probably preferred Aramis
Along comes a man on a horse in a superbly executed and edited commercial, and Old Spice
is reborn via today's viral marketing methods.
An article in today's Australian
says the success of the commercial hasn't made a difference on brand distribution here. Old Spice
's owners Proctor & Gamble don't even have a brand manager in Australia, nor anything in the Old Spice
range save stick deodorant, nor, indeed, any plans to expand the range despite increased sales as a result of the commercial.
It will be interesting to revisit this campaign twelve months from now and see what has happened: whether the campaign itself, with the compelling Mustafa, continues to draw a viral audience, or whether Old Spice sales peak and drop as the novelty wears off. (Maybe Australia's P&G management is thinking the same way.)
Whatever happens, this campaign has been a brilliant example of how viral marketing works and how advertising channels have changed forever. (If you're interested in reading more about getting onto this bandwagon, might I suggest this book, Viral Marketing
by Russell Goldsmith.)
What's going to be the next big viral success story? Have you found a winner? I'd say 'answers on a postcard please' if this was the previous Old Spice
heyday but drop me a comment instead.