Ironically the first Old Spice fragrance was originally designed for women and was only introduced for men in 1937, yet the fragrance has been a prominent male American brand for over 70 years.
Dominated by a nautical theme of sailing ships, clippers and more recently yachts the brand classic buoy shaped design has been a staple product with many famous actors including Bruce Campbell, Neil Patrick Harris and more recently Isaiah Mustafa endorsing it.
And if you are young enough to remember, the original 1970’s Old Spice TV ads featured a surfer risking life and limb to manoeuvre through the wake of huge waves, a glamorous and seductive woman waiting for him back on shore and the thundering voices from “O Fortuna” by Carl Orff.
However, all that changed with the recent social media rebranding campaign that generated over 40 million video views and over 1.4 billion impressions.
Actor Isaiah Mustafa stars in the video as character ‘Old Spice man’, recording and putting out over 200 videos (so far) featuring answers to questions received via social networking channels such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Digg.
This is a great example of combining traditional TV production methods and realtime social media technologies with a very creative team, one that managed to write nearly 200 ads in 48 hours creating incredibly funny and personalised content.
Questions to Old Spice man came from the general public and well known web personalities including Ashton Kutcher, Ellen DeGeneres, Guy Kawasaki and Digg Founder Kevin Rose.
This is will undoubtedly become a referenced case study for how a brands can use social media effectively to engage with fans in entertaining, innovative and realtime way.
Whether this will be a case study that demonstrated real commercial returns is another question; Ad Week reported sales of Old Spice body wash had declined by 7% over the past year.
On the other hand the Wieden+Kennedy are naturally claiming success with a sales increase of 107% within the last month, as to whether this is sustainable that has yet to be seen.
However, if you still yearn to be that surfer with the 70’s lifestyle and side burns you can still experience this on You Tube