Old Spice Rides Horse Into History
PainePR and Wieden+Kennedy and Old Spice, Jan 1,2011
Summary: 2011 SILVER ANVIL AWARD WINNER — INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS —
Smell Like a Man, Man Campaign: Old Spice Rides Horse Into History
Generating publicity for a great commercial seems simple, especially when it's the Old Spice
Guy. However, securing 2 billion+ media impressions from 1,000+ placements, including
Oprah, Ellen and Jay Leno, and helping make the campaign – and its break-out star – one of
the most buzzed about cultural icons in marketing and on the Internet was the result of a
carefully integrated PR launch-and-build strategy, designed with Old Spice marketing and
advertising agency. During all campaign phases, PR amplified and extended coverage, as well
as consumer conversations to drive awareness, sales and share of voice for Old Spice in the
male grooming space.
Full Text: SITUATION ANALYSIS
Generating publicity for a great commercial should be a simple task, especially when it's the Old
Spice Guy. However, securing more than 2 billion earned media impressions from 1,000+
placements, including Oprah, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jay Leno and many, many more,
and helping make the campaign – and its break-out star – one of the most buzzed about
cultural icons in marketing and on the Internet was the result of a carefully integrated PR
launch-and-build strategy, designed from the outset with the Old Spice marketing team and
advertising agency for what we felt could become an extraordinary advertising campaign for the
Old Spice brand.
In 2010, Old Spice was looking to increase awareness and trial of its line of scented body
washes among its target audience – men ages 18-24 and for the first time – speak directly to
the women in their lives who influence (and often purchase for) them. With product scheduled
to arrive in retail locations in March 2010, Old Spice was set to unleash its groundbreaking
"Smell Like a Man, Man" advertising campaign to introduce its new line of scented body washes
as well as the brand's towel-clad pitchman, The Old Spice Guy. The first spot called "The Man
Your Man Could Smell Like" debuted on February 8, 2010, and with its now-legendary opening
words “Hello Ladies” and seamless transitions from shower to ship to horse, quickly became a
viral sensation and garnered unprecedented buzz. The Old Spice Guy returned on June 30,
2010 with a second spot, followed two weeks later with two days of Personal Response Videos
targeting key media, influencers and consumers. During all campaign phases, the PR team
was tasked with amplifying and extending coverage as well as consumer conversations to drive
awareness, sales and share of voice for Old Spice in the male grooming space.
Through our landscape analysis research process, the PR team identified the following
1) A crowded ad/marketing news cycle dominated by Super Bowl commercials. Old Spice
elected to debut its new television advertisement online instead of during the game;
2) Securing Old Spice product mentions at launch and after The Old Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa
became an Internet phenomenon;
3) Keeping the story fresh over the duration of the campaign's various pulse points; and
4) Overcoming the "old brand for old men" mentality despite a significant improvement in brand
perception over the last several years.
With Old Spice's challenges in mind, the team executed the following research to determine the
best strategic approach:
Reviewed past Old Spice ad campaign launches, along with other massive breakout
advertising campaigns, to evaluate, identify and apply key success elements.
Conducted men’s and women’s media/influencer audit to ensure we had the unique
content to engage them.
Studied past three years of Super Bowl advertising round-up coverage for potential
media and online opportunities, and more importantly the timing and cascade of them
(e.g., which media follow which media).
Studied key media/influencers and how they use social media to strategically determine
with whom to seed the commercial and Personal Response Videos.
Brainstormed potential media spikes and pitch angles in order to conduct timely outreach.
Through primary research, determined that a major trial barrier for guys is the
misperception that Old Spice comes in only one scent and that scent messaging must be
featured in our efforts.
Based on our research, the following objectives were established:
1) AWARENESS: Drive sustained news coverage throughout the campaign, with spikes around
commercial and response video launches.
2) PREFERENCE: Secure influencer endorsements to drive buzz around product and
3) TRIAL: Increase sales of Old Spice body wash.
The PR team created the following strategies:
1) Garner coverage by treating the ad creative as an entertainment property – offering exclusive
previews to influential media and bloggers during all phases.
2) Stagger the release of supporting campaign assets to engage our targets, including
behind-the-scenes footage and taking The Old Spice Guy on the road for high-profile in-studio
appearances and editorial meetings.
3) Identify media and influencer targets, segmented to reach both male and female target –
prioritizing for high profile media that targets Old Spice consumers.
4) Select strategic key media/influencers to seed Personal Response Videos with to drive buzz
5) Develop and push PR messaging to ensure Old Spice body wash and scents featured in the
campaign were incorporated as part of the story.
Phase 1: Campaign Launch
Leveraged existing media and blogger relationships to generate buzz surrounding the
new ad creative to effectively broaden the campaign’s reach.
Recognized the potential star power of Isaiah Mustafa – The Old Spice Guy – and used
interest around his fast road to fame to drive additional coverage for the brand in national
entertainment and pop culture media. By sustaining this buzz, the brand was able to stay
relevant in between the launch of the new commercials.
Message trained Isaiah Mustafa, and secured in-studio appearances in New York and
Los Angeles, as well as numerous phone interviews with print and online
Shared relevant data, such as consumer engagement metrics, to drive news value.
Sample social media pitch angles included: Old Spice achieved status as the #1 all-time
most viewed brand channel on YouTube, the #2 most subscribed to brand channel on
YouTube and generated eight out of the top 11 most popular YouTube videos in one day.
Leveraged different facets of story – from Isaiah Mustafa’s appeal to both men and
women to his experience as a former NFL football player to consumer-generated parody
videos – to engage a wide variety of media channels, including men’s, women’s, top
sports programming, entertainment and pop culture outlets.
As the campaign grew in popularity, we continued pitching the top-tier talk shows. This
resulted in a major segment on Oprah in which she Skype-interviewed Isaiah Mustafa
from his home bathroom in Los Angeles. She also played the entire commercial on air
and gave Old Spice a major shout out that resulted in a very positive in-studio audience
Leveraged Ellen’s love for the spot (after seeing multiple tweets from her), to secure an
in-studio interview with Isaiah Mustafa, which led to a second appearance on the show in
which she played her favorite Old Spice Guy parody video.
Phase 2: Second Commercial Launch
Continued communicating the Old Spice story with the launch of the second spot called
"Questions" on June 30, 2010, securing an exclusive with Associated Press to announce
the new commercial and launch the second wave of buzz and coverage.
Took Isaiah Mustafa on the road for a second round of high-profile editor meetings and
Leveraged popularity of campaign to reach top grooming/style sources for men and
break through top women's outlets.
Further targeted and secured coverage in pop culture/entertainment outlets, including
Mashable, Perez Hilton, Gawker, Entertainment Weekly, People, Huffington Post,
Time.com and USAToday.com, to solidify Old Spice's position in pop culture history.
Phase 3: Response Videos
Holistic agency planning created a strategy to launch Phase 3 with an air of mystery
through a first- of-its-kind, personalized video response campaign leveraging the brand’s
fan base on Twitter.
Identified select influencers and media, including Ellen, Perez Hilton and GQ, to have
video responses ready if needed at the start of the two-day event, followed by a broad
media push to bring in the masses.
Media and influencer seeding drew high-profile celebrities with massive followings on
Twitter, who saw the campaign and tweeted about it, helping to spread the videos like
The response videos were about 70 percent consumers and 30 percent media and
influencers. Due to high demand, we tiered media requests for personal video responses
and provided reporters with the most newsworthy videos to generate additional coverage,
including the video from an Old Spice consumer, Johannes Beals, who asked The Old
Spice Guy to help him propose to his girlfriend. (She said YES)
The overall campaign garnered more than 2 billion media impressions and strengthened
Old Spice's leading position in the male grooming space .
Amplified coverage around the commercial launches (February and June) and 2 days of
personal response videos (July), and ensured steady flow continued throughout the
campaign's duration, as evidenced by the hundreds of placements coming out of media
tours with Isaiah Mustafa and ongoing strategic pitching.