Launching in January of 2010, Old Spice’s social media campaign “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” captivated the public’s attention.  But is it really one of the best examples of social media campaigns?

The Old Spice Campaign

For eight months following the initial Super Bowl commercial, sales of Old Spice skyrocketed, as did the rising star of its spokesperson and Old Spice Man Isaiah Mustafa. Old Spice became the “It” brand of 2010, and its aggressive, creative and one-of-a-kind social media campaign caught the attention of marketers everywhere.

Quickly as you can say “Old Spice”, thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook fans were left in the dark, as the man your man could smell like stopped talking. In fact, the entire brand became quiet and the phenomenon died down causing sales to drop. More important was the disappointment and dismay of fans who followed the campaign.

What They Did Right

Marketing Strategy

Old Spice targeted both the female and male demographic using references that would appeal to both men and women in a comical advertisement featuring Isaiah Mustafa as The Old Spice Man.

Social Media Explosion

The marketing success of the Old Spice commercials drove up YouTube views of the initial commercial and resulting in the Response Campaign. Over three days, 180 short videos were filmed by the Old Spice crew in response to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter comments and questions and posted. The first day of the campaign, the Old Spice channel received 6 million views. In three days, they had reached 20 million views. In one week, the videos resulted in increased traffic to the Old Spice website, Facebook page and the Twitter page. In six months, sales went up over 107%, the fastest response to a social media marketing campaign in history.

What They Did Wrong

Instead of winding down the campaign, Old Spice stopped “The Man Your Man Could Smell like” social media campaign with a grinding halt, ended all social media efforts. By September, the buzz about the Old Spice man was gone. Fans across the internet started to feel used, insulted and taken for granted.  In January 2011, seeing their mistake, Old Spice started up the campaign again.  Can they recapture their audience?

What Can You Learn From Old Spice Man

Top social media marketing campaigns are all about the conversation. Unlike the advertising world of thirty years ago, the audience doesn’t just want to be engaged- they expect response. Had Old Spice remained in contact with their fans, their campaign would be one of the most successful examples of social media marketing campaigns

Effective social media campaign management must remember these key points:

  • Connect with your audience
  • Communicate with your audience

Old Spice succeeded in doing what no one else had yet done in fully capturing an entire audience and develop a devoted following. It was one of the greatest social media blunders of all time, and provides the proof that not every social media campaign darling is marketing gold.

Posted on April 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

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Responses (3)

  1. Jeffrey
    April 6, 2011 at 11:54 am · Reply

    Staying connected and constantly engaging with ‘fans’ is much easier if your fan base is small. But when they reach hundreds of thousands, how do you do it? Then the message just becomes one way. I think for a small biz I’d rather have 500 – 5,000 core fans in Facebook who are loyalists vs the millions who watch a YouTube clip for entertainment. I mean some YouTube clips have 27 mil views!

    • crowe
      April 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Jeremy. Interestingly enough, our post that goes out tomorrow describes how a company like highlights their loyal fans with contests, and does a great job of engaging with their customers on social media without the brand recognition that Old Spice has. Where Old Spice failed was in not investing in the resources- a capable team of people, for example- that could have continued the conversation after the campaign ended. Had they done this, their return could have been much larger.

  2. […] Not to worry; here are 3 ways to restart your social media marketing campaigns: […]

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