Old Spice Man Is Horsing Around On Social Media

from the i'm-on-a-horse dept

When we last saw the Old Spice man, he was on a horse, and demonstrated how a brilliantly clever ad could attract its own viewers, instead of trying to divert attention with an annoying or distracting ad. In the five months since the ad first aired, the ad has collected nearly 13 million views on YouTube and was also awarded the Grand Prix for film at this year’s Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

The Old Spice man is back, and once again, showing that he truly gets how to engage with his audience. Starting Monday, he began posting video responses to various Twitter, Facebook, and other social media commentary, oftentimes resulting in hilarity. Most of the over one hundred responses have been posted within a few hours of a tweet or comment, which is a blistering pace for an ad campaign with a traditional CPG company. My favorites are his response to Alyssa Milano and the one where Twitter user jsbeals asks Old Spice man to propose to his girlfriend for him:

Ad agency Wieden + Kennedy hit it out of the park again with this ad — they were able to craft an infectiously viral ad campaign, while at the same time incorporating the brand as a key part of the message. After all, he’s not “I’m on a horse” man, he’s the Old Spice man. That said, while such a campaign may definitely drive awareness, awareness may not necessarily result in sales: according to SymphonyIRI, sales of Old Spice Red Zone (the product featured in the ad) actually dropped 7 percent.

Then again, surely jsbeals will be buying a few cases of Red Zone in appreciation of the help from Old Spice man (his girlfriend accepted the proposal).

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Comments on “Old Spice Man Is Horsing Around On Social Media”

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Anonymous Coward says:

“sales of Old Spice Red Zone (the product featured in the ad) actually dropped 7 percent. ” – hence the problem. not only did the ads not do what good ads should do (drive people to the product), but they also spent a load of time and money to do it. brand awareness is at an all time high, and still nobody wants to use the stuff their grand daddy used.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I think you’re thinking about this too narrowly. Although the direct sell of the singular product may have gone down, Old Spice makes a wide variety of products and overall may have seen their figures increase (anyone care to look at that?). Additionally I would have to assume that as being the “old spice” man, wherever this guy shows up to do any sort of viral or social media based service it’s just another opportunity for advertisement in an environment where there is very little cost.

If the clip’s gotten 13million views, I’d say that’s pretty damn effective marketing for something that cost nothing. The content was already purchased from the ad company, and instead of having to pay for more advertising fees on the airwaves it’s now using free social media services to do the same thing – reach an audience.

Point being, there’s not enough information to really get a sense of how successful this campaign has been at increasing sales for Old Spice. What is clear however, is that the ad itself is generating viewers and doing so at a pretty good pace across many different platforms. The real question is can they take advantage of it while it still has momentum and turn it into any sort of net gain whatever it may be?

Possibly – the ‘old spice girl’, introducing a line of woman’s product?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“The content was already purchased from the ad company, and instead of having to pay for more advertising fees on the airwaves it’s now using free social media services to do the same thing – reach an audience.”

To help clarify what I mean by ‘no cost’ is the price necessary to obtain these new outlets services after the initial investment was made for the product (in this case the ad).

The comment had more to do with the specific case of taking the “I’m on a horse” video (initial investment) and simply uploading it to YouTube where it received an additional 13million views – which is pretty significant and worth taking note for something that came at ‘no cost’.

[“But to upload a video costs money for bandwidth” – True, but the bandwidth comes from the companies network which would be deemed another initial investment, or more likely all was needed was authorization and someone else did the uploading.]

Furthermore setting up any Facebook or Twitter accounts to gain followers and offer special deals on products (more sales) will only cost whatever they pay someone to manage them (probably the same ad company). Compared to the fees it would take to do the same in a Radio, Television, or Print advertisement the social media outlet is a much much cheaper solution, and lends itself to more ‘no cost’ options.

Sean T Henry (profile) says:

Re: Re:

From the link “But sales of the featured product—Red Zone After Hours Body Wash—aren’t necessarily tracking with that consumer appeal: In the 52 weeks ended June 13, sales of the brand have dropped 7 percent according to SymphonyIRI. (That amount excludes those rung up at Walmart.)”

It was only that one body wash that fell and the numbers did not include all markets for all we know at Walmart sales could have gone up 35%.

Tim Christy says:

Re: You're showing your stupidity

Actually, you are citing information from an article that misreported the facts. Sales are up 16.7%, not down 7% like AdWeek originally claimed.

See Forbes.com for accurate reporting – http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/15/old-spice-youtube-procter-gamble-twitter-facebook-cmo-network-social-media-advertising.html.

Also, Old Spice body wash was not around when anyone’s grandfather was young.

So apparently you are not just a coward…you’re an idiot as well. If you don’t know the whole story and/or do not understand advertising/marketing strategy, keep your thoughts to yourself.

Nate (profile) says:

Just because the sales dropped for Red Zone doesn’t mean it did poorly compared to its competition. Did the overall market hit a low spot? The source didn’t say.

Also the source Mike refers to says the drop occurred over a 52 week period ending Jun 13 and did not include Wal-Mart sales (for whatever reason I’m not sure why). The commercial’s only been out since February. What if prior to February the sales had dropped 10% and has since then gained 3%? (With the potential for a delay of consumer activity.)

And as Kate Dickman noted in the comment below, this event is just now climaxing. So let’s see what impact the commercial has on sales during the next few months.

out_of_the_blue says:

No, this *is* "annoying or distracting".

All advertising is, or it’s not “effective”. Not least here because distressing to know that some are such easily swayed consumers as to state that they’ll switch. — Probably only until they see a competitor’s commercial.

Meanwhile, I have to *search* for plain soap that isn’t full of lotion and perfumed to leave me smelling like a girl.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re: No, this *is* "annoying or distracting".

Actually, if all advertising was this way people wouldn’t have as much of a problem with it.
I already use Old Spice body wash (but not the Red Zone). And I can honestly say I have never been around any girl who smelled like I do after I use it. So I am slightly unsure what kind of crowd you hang around if you think these will leave you smelling like a girl. You must have used the wash the old spice guy mentioned in his commercial. So if your girl was with him she would be with the man her man could smell like. =P I jest overall, but seriously, don’t know any girls who smell like old spice stuff.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:


I’m not sure I could stand these in heavy rotation but still they’re brilliant.

I’ve certainly put up with enough annoying, irritating and downright offensive ads over the years these are an example of doing what advertising should do. They’re connecting with an audience and a demographic that Old Spice was largely left out of.

It’s all about brand awareness, folks, and not necessarily increased sales of a particular product. In that these ads not only hit it out of the ballpark but into the football stadium down the freeway.

I’ll pass on the scent in the product myself but the ads hit the target of what’s talked about constantly on a CBC Radio show called “The Age of Persuasion” on just how to connect with an audience.


It’s certainly reminded me that the brand is alive and very well and, in comparison with the annoying, sexist and insulting to both genders ads AXXE occupies time with on air are inexpensive, inviting and something I’ll think of fondly.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Great as a viral ad, but definitely targeted

I’ve seen a few of them so far, and they are hilarious. But they definitely seem to be targeted to wives who will be buying the product for their husbands when they do their grocery shopping.

And that may be exactly who they should be targeted to. This may be a mass market product, primarily bought by women when they do their family shopping, and this lends some hipness to the product.

Now, whether or not this increases sales, or at least slows a decline in sales, we’ll have to wait and see. Perhaps the money that they previously spent on ad buys and coupons is now going into this interactive campaign. It might be part of a long-term rebranding in terms of image. Yes, it’s for your average husband in the suburbs, but at least the wives can fantasize that their husbands will someday get a body like that.

Xander C (profile) says:

Sucessful or VERY Sucessful?

Honestly, these videos cost money, but I have no doubt that the hour or two of content that’s been uploaded to youtube has cost the company LESS then a full 30sec TV spot.

Add to the fact that these are personal and high quality content, and you have what could possibly be one of the greatest viral ads this year. The best ads are the ones that we actively look for, rather then just pushed on us. That’s why we have shows dedicated to great advertising, because the content itself is of incredible quality.


Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Sucessful or VERY Sucessful?

Honestly, these videos cost money, but I have no doubt that the hour or two of content that’s been uploaded to youtube has cost the company LESS then a full 30sec TV spot.

You should clarify that you are talking about buying ad time rather than production costs. The costs to produce the spots could easily be the same no matter the medium, and perhaps even a bit more to do the YouTube spots.

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