Old Spice: Smell Like a Man, Man

If there was a defining moment when advertisers started to get a proper handle on social media marketing, it was when an ex-American football star called Isaiah Mustafa was drafted in to save Old Spice from oblivion.

They got it spot on. Not just a brilliant video that has been watched on YouTube over 50 million times, but a supporting interactive social media campaign where the ‘Old Spice Guy’ answered questions. More people watched his personal social media video ‘answers’ than watched President Obama’s 2008 election-night acceptance speech. The commercial won the Cannes Lions Film Grand Prix 2010 and was described it as the ‘perfect film’ and Old Spice’s Twitter followers rose by an astonishing 2,700%.

And the sales rocketed – by end of 2010 sales of Old Spice body wash were up 125% in the UK and the upward trend has continued year on year.

It also sparked a whole discussion about whether the campaign ‘cured’ racism by presenting such a positive and desirable image of black masculinity. Well, while we know it didn’t end racism in America in 2010, it was definitely a step in the right direction, and it is good to see that Old Spice acting on its brand values 10 years later in 2020:

“Racism is a 400-year pandemic. Enough is enough. Black lives matter. Today, we are establishing a fund with our parent company P&G to commit $5,000,000 to NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the YWCA, Courageous Conversations, and United Negro College Fund.”

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