Can you smell the love?
Everyone loves humor. (At least anyone with a sense of humor.) It follows that if the viral power of Old Spice’s award-winning campaign is any indication, the reports about advertising’s demise are greatly exaggerated. For evidence, anyone who’s a parent can easily tell that kids are as brand conscious as they ever were.
Matter of fact, just the other night during dinner my 11-year-old abruptly announced that he wanted Old Spice body wash. I asked him if he’d ever smelled it. (He said yes, but I wonder.) The real reason? He loves the commercials.
Old Spice used to be just old fashioned. The aftershave was something you gave your dad or grandpa instead of a tie.
Now thanks to the brilliantly funny campaign, the 73-year-old Proctor & Gamble brand is cool enough that my fifth grader not only wants it, but he can recite the commercials by heart after watching them over and over on YouTube. Especially “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.”
Even grown men are pledging lifetime brand allegiance to Old Spice Odor Blocker, all because of the hilariously whacked-out advertising.
In contrast to the Axe strategy of targeting men by filling the commercials with wall-to-wall babes (not that there’s anything wrong with that), Old Spice came to the realization that women are usually the ones who actually buy body wash and deodorant.
Quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Old Spice brand manager James Moorhead said, “In recent memory we haven’t targeted women directly, so our goal was to find a way to reach out to them. We wanted an ad that men and women would enjoy together.” Over the previous few years, ad agency Wieden + Kennedy had employed such humorous odorous pitchmen as Will Ferrell (as Jackie Moon), Neil Patrick Harris, LL Cool J and Bruce Campbell. This time they hit on the right appeal to both sexes with a little help from former pro football player Isaiah “I’m on a horse” Mustafa.
Then, instead of spending $3 million for 30 seconds on the Super Bowl, the ad debuted February 4 on YouTube and the Old Spice Facebook fan page. It was also hard to miss during the Olympics telecast. Since airing, the spot has had over 10 million views online. One more here won’t hurt:
“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”
“I’m on a horse.” But how did he get up there?
Watch this fascinating “making of” interview with the W+K creative team, in which they explain how the commercial took three days to film one seamless take using minimal effects.
Will the smell sell?
It’s the $51 million dollar question: Will the advertising translate into greater market share for Old Spice? As reported in the L.A. Times, Unilever’s Axe currently has the larger slice of the B.O.-blocking pie with $51.1 million in sales for the year ending last August. Old Spice High Endurance and Old Spice Red Zone accounted for $44.8 million. Although it’s too early to tell whether Old Spice will overtake Axe, it’s not too early to win awards.
Winning’s a habit they can’t seem to quit.
The “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad has just been named Best Commercial of the Year by the Association of Independent Commercial Producers. Not a very difficult choice, except that the only real competition was from other Old Spice spots.
The hits just keep on coming.
Some of the other Old Spice spots, like the Odor Blocker series, are even more over the top—if that’s possible. But are they funnier than “The Man”? (My son thinks not.)
“Old Spice Armpit Mountain”
“Arm vs. Arm”
Just for kicks, here’s Isaiah on the Ellen show, talking about the making of the commercial. He’s a good sport, too, reciting the lines for the bajillionth time for Ellen and the audience.
Do you agree with the choice of “The Man” for best commercial? Or do you think any of the others top it? Possibly none of the above? Do you even have a sense of humor about mansmells?
Any way the wind blows, the Old Spice campaign smells like… victory. Time to go to the store to get some Swagger for my son. (I’m just glad he wants to use deodorant.)