Old Spice Revisited

On July 29, 2010, wrote:

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how Old Spice was enjoying wild popularity from its viral video campaign featuring “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” a towel-clad hunk who responded to fans’ tweets with personalized videos. This week, Old Spice is finally seeing evidence of the results they had undoubtedly hoped for: an increase in sales.

Although initial reports suggested that Old Spice sales were actually down in the weeks after the campaign, Nielsen released new sales figures this week, revealing that sales have increased by 107% in the last month.

Not surprisingly, following Old Spice’s overwhelming success, copycat campaigns have begun to pop up from other companies. This week, Cisco released a viral video featuring “Ted from Accounting,” asking fans to tweet their questions about Cisco products and services to Ted, who would then post personalized video responses to Cisco’s blog.

While Ted from Accounting was not as suave and sophisticated as the Old Spice Guy, Ted, who wore his towel over his suit, had an awkward charm that made his videos surprisingly funny. Unfortunately for Cisco, Ted from Accounting failed to acquire the fame that the Old Spice Guy had celebrated, recording only 18 videos that received around 4,000 views, paling in comparison to Old Spice’s 40 million views.

Two main issues contributed to Cisco’s lack of success: logistical problems with the campaign and its lack of originality. Cisco failed logistically when they did not create a Twitter account for the campaign, and instead relied upon fans using a hashtag that Cisco could search for from three existing Twitter accounts.

Cisco also fell short on originality and creativity. The take home point from the Old Spice Guy’s viral video success was the importance of connecting with your audience, and Cisco failed to do this. By creating a campaign that simply mimicked Old Spice’s idea, Cisco neither targeted a specific audience nor created a character to appeal to that audience. As Brenna Erlich from Mashable suggests, Cisco may have had more success if their campaign had used an original character, like Greg Justice, the quirky intern whose YouTube rap video “The World’s Most Interesting Intern,” has gotten almost 80,000 views in the past month.

This is a post written by our marketing intern Charlotte Dretler


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What do you think? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

2 responses to “Old Spice Revisited”

  1. Gregg says:

    I think its a little too early to tell if the Old Spice campaign was a success or failure based on immediate sales. Last week based on some stats that sale had gone down (with no valid source for those stats) everyone called it a failure. Now there are some stats that say it was a success.

    For a product that has been around forever but is changing it’s brand image, don’t you think it takes some time, possibly years, to determine if they’ve earned a new crop of brand loyal buyers? I wrote a (rare) blog post on my site about this when it was the doomed failure: http://bit.ly/amE0NC

  2. Brandon says:

    I think as a campaign it’s a success, no matter the sales results. It had a TON of people talking about it, and in the end, isn’t that what most brands want? So, sales were down, sales were up… who knows. I agree- we won’t know the true effect on sales for a while, though I’ll be interested to see quarter and 6 month sales comparisons.

    I like the points you made in your post- about appealing to teens and women. I think some of that thinking is over-generalized, but then I remember watching an Old Spice commercial of a guy walking through a dorm after just washing in Old Spice body wash and being followed by girls. I saw this commercial the summer before I left for college, and you bet your ass I bought some Old Spice body wash 🙂

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