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How Old Spice Use Humor For The Man Your Man Could Smell Like Campaign marketing

Old Spice's The Man Your Man Could Smell Like Campaign: A Case Study in Innovative Marketing

Delve into the remarkable journey of Old Spice’s marketing transformation with this captivating case study. Explore how the iconic brand revitalized its image and captured the hearts of consumers through the groundbreaking “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign. From clever humor to viral sensation, witness the strategic use of entertainment, social media, and psychology to create a lasting impact. Discover the challenges faced and lessons learned as Old Spice achieved unprecedented success, redefining its identity and driving substantial sales growth. Experience the magic of marketing innovation as Old Spice’s story unfolds, proving that a touch of humor can transform a brand from stagnant to sensational.

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In 2010, Old Spice launched one of the most iconic and memorable advertising campaigns in recent history, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.” This campaign not only revitalized the brand but also set new standards in creative marketing strategies. This case study delves into the campaign’s inception, its marketing strategy, the psychological elements employed, and the invaluable lessons learned.

The Problem:

Before the campaign, Old Spice faced a significant challenge in repositioning itself to appeal to a younger demographic. The brand had become associated with older generations and was losing relevance among younger consumers. Additionally, competition in the men’s grooming industry was fierce, with numerous brands vying for market share.

Market Research

  1. Consumer Surveys and Focus Groups: Old Spice conducted extensive consumer surveys and focus groups to gain insights into the preferences, attitudes, and behaviors of their target audience. They sought to understand what resonated with younger consumers and what they were looking for in grooming products and advertisements.

  2. Competitive Analysis: The brand also analyzed the strategies and messaging of competitors in the men’s grooming industry. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of competing brands, Old Spice could identify opportunities for differentiation and innovation.

  3. Trend Analysis: Old Spice monitored cultural and industry trends to stay abreast of developments that could impact consumer preferences. This included tracking shifts in popular culture, fashion, and social media usage patterns.

  4. Social Media Listening: Leveraging social media monitoring tools, Old Spice listened to conversations happening online related to men’s grooming products and brand perceptions. This provided valuable insights into the topics, trends, and language used by their target audience.

  5. In-Depth Interviews: The brand conducted in-depth interviews with both current and potential customers to delve deeper into their motivations, aspirations, and pain points related to grooming products. These qualitative insights helped inform the development of the campaign’s messaging and positioning.

Key Findings:

  1. Desire for Humor and Entertainment: Through their research, Old Spice discovered that younger consumers responded positively to advertisements that were entertaining, humorous, and unconventional. This insight informed the decision to create a campaign that would stand out from traditional grooming product commercials.

  2. Preference for Authenticity and Relatability: The research revealed that authenticity and relatability were crucial factors in building connections with consumers. Old Spice aimed to create a campaign that featured a character who was confident and charming but still relatable to the target audience.

  3. Importance of Social Media Engagement: The rise of social media platforms as key communication channels for younger demographics highlighted the importance of engaging with consumers in these spaces. Old Spice recognized the opportunity to amplify the campaign’s reach and impact through social media sharing and interaction.

  4. Need for Rejuvenation and Relevance: The research underscored the importance of repositioning the Old Spice brand to appeal to a younger demographic. The brand needed to shed its outdated image and communicate a more modern and relevant identity to resonate with today’s consumers.

By conducting comprehensive market research, Old Spice gained valuable insights into the preferences, attitudes, and behaviors of their target audience. These insights informed the development of the “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, ensuring that it would effectively capture the attention and imagination of consumers while addressing their needs and desires in the men’s grooming category.

Solution and Marketing Strategy:

Old Spice decided to completely overhaul its marketing approach by creating a campaign that was humorous, engaging, and highly shareable. The brand enlisted the help of advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy to develop the campaign.

The key elements of the marketing strategy included:

  1. Humor and Entertainment: The campaign featured actor and former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa as the “Old Spice Guy,” who delivered absurd and humorous monologues directly to the camera. These commercials were entertaining and caught the attention of viewers.

  2. Social Media Integration: Old Spice leveraged social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook to amplify the campaign’s reach. They responded to fans’ comments and even created personalized video responses, enhancing consumer engagement.

  3. Viral Content Creation: The commercials were designed to be highly shareable, with memorable catchphrases and scenarios that quickly became internet memes. This viral aspect significantly extended the campaign’s reach beyond traditional advertising channels.

  4. Celebrity Endorsement: Mustafa’s charismatic portrayal of the “Old Spice Guy” helped create a likable and relatable character that resonated with audiences.


  1. Creative Concept Development: Old Spice collaborated with advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy to develop a creative concept that would resonate with the target audience. The agency’s team brainstormed ideas, eventually settling on the character of the “Old Spice Guy” and the humorous, fast-paced style of the commercials.

  2. Casting and Production: Actor and former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa was selected to portray the charismatic and confident “Old Spice Guy.” The commercials were meticulously produced, with elaborate sets, special effects, and rapid-fire editing to create a visually engaging and entertaining viewing experience.

  3. Multi-Platform Distribution: The campaign was distributed across multiple media platforms, including television, digital channels, and social media. Old Spice strategically released teaser trailers and behind-the-scenes content to generate buzz and anticipation leading up to the campaign launch.

  4. Social Media Integration: Old Spice leveraged social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook to amplify the campaign’s reach and foster interaction with consumers. They responded to comments in real-time, created personalized video responses, and encouraged users to share their own content related to the campaign.

  5. Measurement and Analysis: Throughout the campaign, Old Spice monitored key metrics such as impressions, engagement rates, and sales data to assess the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. They used this data to optimize their strategy in real-time and maximize the campaign’s impact.

Challenges Faced:

  1. Appeal to Diverse Audiences: While the campaign was highly successful overall, there were challenges in ensuring that it resonated with diverse audience segments. Old Spice had to strike a balance between appealing to younger consumers while still retaining the brand’s existing customer base.

  2. Maintaining Momentum: Following the initial success of the campaign, Old Spice faced the challenge of sustaining momentum and keeping the brand top-of-mind for consumers over the long term. They implemented strategies such as releasing new content and engaging in ongoing social media interactions to keep the campaign fresh and relevant.

  3. Managing Expectations: The viral success of the campaign set high expectations for future marketing efforts, putting pressure on Old Spice to deliver equally impactful campaigns in subsequent years. Maintaining the same level of creativity and innovation posed a continuous challenge for the brand.

  4. Navigating Cultural Sensitivities: As with any marketing campaign, Old Spice had to navigate potential cultural sensitivities and ensure that their content was appropriate and well-received by diverse audiences. They conducted thorough research and testing to mitigate the risk of backlash or controversy.

Despite these challenges, Old Spice successfully executed the “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, achieving unprecedented levels of engagement, brand awareness, and sales growth. The campaign’s innovative approach and humorous tone helped Old Spice reinvent its image and establish a lasting connection with consumers.

Psychological Elements:

The campaign incorporated several psychological tactics to capture and maintain audience attention:

  1. Humor as a Hook: The use of humor in advertising is a powerful tool to captivate audiences and create positive associations with the brand. By making viewers laugh, Old Spice created a memorable and enjoyable experience that increased brand recall.

  2. Social Proof: Through the portrayal of the “Old Spice Guy” as confident, attractive, and successful, the campaign tapped into the psychological principle of social proof. Viewers were inclined to associate these desirable traits with the use of Old Spice products.

  3. Emotional Appeal: While the campaign was predominantly comedic, it also appealed to viewers’ emotions by presenting an aspirational image of masculinity and charm.

Results and Impact:

  1. Increased Brand Engagement: The campaign achieved unprecedented levels of consumer engagement, with over 1.4 billion impressions generated across various media platforms during its initial launch phase. Social media interactions soared, with millions of views, likes, shares, and comments on platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

  2. Viral Sensation: The commercials featuring the “Old Spice Guy” quickly went viral, becoming one of the most talked-about advertising campaigns of the year. Memorable catchphrases like “I’m on a horse” and “Look at your man, now back to me” became cultural touchstones and were widely referenced in online discussions and mainstream media.

  3. Sales Growth: The campaign had a significant positive impact on Old Spice’s sales, leading to a double-digit increase in revenue for the brand. According to Nielsen data, sales of Old Spice body wash increased by 125% in the months following the campaign’s launch, while sales of Old Spice body sprays surged by 55%.

  4. Market Share Gain: Old Spice also experienced gains in market share, solidifying its position as a leading brand in the men’s grooming industry. The campaign helped the brand capture market share from competitors and attract a younger demographic, expanding its customer base and driving long-term growth.

  5. Positive Brand Perception: Consumer perception of the Old Spice brand underwent a transformation, with many viewing it as modern, relevant, and innovative. The campaign successfully repositioned Old Spice as a brand that understood and connected with its audience, fostering positive associations and brand loyalty.

Consumer Reaction:

  1. Positive Reception: Consumers overwhelmingly responded positively to the campaign, praising its humor, creativity, and entertainment value. The character of the “Old Spice Guy” resonated with audiences, who found him charismatic, confident, and memorable.

  2. Social Media Buzz: The campaign generated a buzz on social media, with consumers eagerly sharing and discussing the commercials and related content. The interactive nature of the campaign, including personalized video responses to fans, further fueled engagement and conversation.

  3. Cultural Impact: The campaign’s influence extended beyond advertising into popular culture, spawning parodies, memes, and references in television shows, movies, and internet culture. The campaign’s catchphrases and imagery became ingrained in the cultural lexicon, further enhancing brand visibility and recognition.

  4. Appeal to Diverse Audiences: The campaign’s broad appeal transcended demographics, resonating with both men and women of varying ages. Its humorous and irreverent tone attracted attention from a wide range of consumers, contributing to its viral success and long-lasting impact.

Why The campaign success and what are its success metrics:

  1. Creativity and Innovation: The campaign broke away from traditional advertising norms by incorporating humor, absurdity, and memorable characters. The use of unconventional storytelling techniques and unexpected twists captured the audience’s attention and made the commercials stand out from competitors.

  2. Viral Appeal: The campaign was designed to be highly shareable, with content that resonated with audiences and encouraged social media sharing. Memorable catchphrases, humorous scenarios, and interactive elements (such as personalized video responses) contributed to the campaign’s virality, amplifying its reach and impact.

  3. Engagement and Interaction: Old Spice actively engaged with consumers on social media platforms, responding to comments, creating personalized content, and fostering a sense of community. This two-way interaction helped build rapport with consumers, increase brand loyalty, and extend the campaign’s lifespan beyond its initial launch.

  4. Relevance and Resonance: The campaign tapped into cultural trends and consumer insights to create content that was relevant and relatable to its target audience. By presenting an aspirational yet accessible image of masculinity, Old Spice connected with consumers on an emotional level, fostering positive brand associations and driving purchase intent.

  5. Measurable Impact: Old Spice used a variety of metrics to gauge the success of the campaign, including:

    • Impressions: Tracking the number of views, shares, and interactions across different media platforms to measure the campaign’s reach and visibility.

    • Engagement Metrics: Monitoring social media metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and mentions to assess audience engagement and interaction with the campaign content.

    • Sales Data: Analyzing sales figures and market share data to measure the campaign’s impact on driving consumer purchases and market penetration.

    • Brand Perception Surveys: Conducting post-campaign surveys to evaluate changes in consumer perceptions, attitudes, and purchase intent towards the Old Spice brand.

    • Media Coverage: Monitoring media coverage and online discussions to track the campaign’s buzz, sentiment, and cultural impact.

By leveraging these metrics, Old Spice was able to quantify the success of the campaign and demonstrate its effectiveness in achieving marketing objectives such as increasing brand awareness, driving sales growth, and enhancing brand perception.

Business and Marketing Lessons Learned:

Business Lessons Learned:

  1. Adaptability is Key: Old Spice’s success demonstrates the importance of adapting to changing market dynamics. By recognizing the need to appeal to a younger demographic, the brand effectively repositioned itself to stay relevant in a competitive industry.

  2. Invest in Innovation: The campaign’s success highlights the value of investing in innovative marketing strategies. Old Spice’s willingness to break away from traditional advertising norms and embrace creativity led to substantial growth and market expansion.

  3. Brand Reinvention is Possible: Old Spice’s transformation from a perceived “old-fashioned” brand to a modern, desirable option showcases the potential for brand reinvention. With the right approach, even well-established brands can successfully rejuvenate their image and appeal to new audiences.

Marketing Lessons Learned:

  1. Embrace Creativity: The campaign’s humorous and unconventional approach underscores the power of creativity in marketing. Old Spice’s willingness to take risks and think outside the box resulted in memorable, shareable content that captured consumer attention.

  2. Harness the Power of Social Media: Old Spice effectively leveraged social media platforms to amplify its message and engage with consumers. By actively participating in online conversations and encouraging user-generated content, the brand fostered a sense of community and loyalty among its audience.

  3. Create Emotional Connections: The campaign’s emphasis on humor, relatability, and aspirational imagery resonated with consumers on an emotional level. Old Spice’s ability to evoke positive emotions and build meaningful connections with its audience contributed to the campaign’s success and long-term impact.


In conclusion, Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign serves as a testament to the power of creative marketing, humor, and social media engagement. By understanding psychological principles and embracing innovation, the brand was able to overcome challenges and achieve remarkable success in redefining its image and driving sales.

Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign achieved remarkable results by leveraging humor, creativity, and social media engagement to reinvent the brand and drive sales growth. The campaign’s viral success and positive consumer reception underscored the effectiveness of its marketing strategy and highlighted the enduring power of innovative advertising in capturing hearts, minds, and market share.