Small business and startups: engage your customers the old(spice)-fashioned way Mike | July 19th, 2010

Customer loyalty is critical to all businesses, and this loyalty can be built by small businesses by engaging their audience with their own brands through content creation. Blog posts, videos, advertising, and social media interaction should be designed to serve a larger engagement strategy.

The last few weeks have seen an explosion online, on TV, and in the press about an old, (and frankly) washed-up brand, turned new again through a strong, consistent, and creative campaign. Old Spice is a 71 year old brand, which was acquired by Proctor and Gamble in 1990, and which has seen astronomical growth in sales and market share over the past 3 years, due in large part to a creative campaign targeting young men aged 18-34. In 2006 Wieden and Kennedy landed the Old Spice account and started fresh, injecting humor in the advertising across multiple platforms and developing engaging characters and promotions.

There are two interesting things at work here: first is that an “old” brand with historically low brand equity can be updated for modern audiences and marketed to a new demographic by using effective spokespeople, humorous messages, and cross-platform strategies. The second is that the social web can be used to engage this new-found audience with lightning-strike quickness when the groundwork is well-laid and the audience well-prepped.

This did not happen overnight. in 2007 when W+K launched the campaign they introduced several new products, new packaging, and a new logo for the brand. This re-branding allowed them to change the messaging and, over time, change the perception of the brand among the key demographic. They did this through commercials featuring celebrities such as Neal Patrick Harris; through print ads which used silly “Keep it Clean” captions to offset the imagery, and through a website which offered tongue-in-cheek advice on topics such as “Easy ways to avoid getting picked in a lineup.” In two years, the campaign developed a loyal following and garnered 19% of market share, moving Old Spice into the #2 position behind the segment leader, Right Guard, and ahead of the 20-something powerhouse Axe body spray.

This year, the campaign took off in a whole new way in a Superbowl ad with the introduction of the “Old Spice Man,” played by  Isaiah Mustafa, a television actor and a former NFL wide receiver. The commercial positioned Mustafa as “The man your man could smell like” and set up a series of spots featuring his great voice, fantastic muscles, and pitch-perfect comedic timing. Suddenly TiVo users were skipping ahead through the other commercials to watch Mustafa. A phenom was born and W&K is now claiming that Old Spice has moved to the #1 share of the market and seen a sales increase of 17% in the trailing 12 months.

The W&K strategy reached a viral crescendo last week with the rapid-fire posting of YouTube videos; the agency’s creatives churned out 180 short videos which were essentially real-time responses to questions posted by users of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Not only did every-day users of the product and fans of the ads participate, but media titans such as Geroge Stephanopoulos chimed in with their own questions and received their own answers. When Stephanopoulos asked, “Hey Old Spice Man — Political question: President’s lost some female support. How does WH get those women voters back?” the answer came back quickly in this video response:

The quick-response videos generated nearly 6 million views in less than 24 hours. That’s 6 million impressions for $0 in media buy. That converts to a CPM of $0. Did I mention that the cost of all of those eyeballs was $0?

What can small businesses learn from P&G’s strategy for Old Spice? On a modest level, any business can look to understand their market, directly confront their competition, and speak to their target audience using message, voice, and humor. While we in the startup community can not approach the marketing resources of a P&G, we can still learn from their example and purloin from their arsenal.

Need something designed? Name your price. Pick from 110+ entries. Love it or your money back.

Like our blog? You’ll freaking love our Twitter updates. Oh, and you’ll dig our Facebook page too.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Small business and startups: engage your customers the old(spice)-fashioned way « crowdSPRING Blog -- Topsy.com

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Small business and startups: engage your customers the old(spice)-fashioned way « crowdSPRING Blog -- Topsy.com

  • John

    yeaaah! Another stupid ad. just what the world needs more of.

  • John

    yeaaah! Another stupid ad. just what the world needs more of.

  • Paul

    It’s only $0 if you don’t count the 50 million dollar TRADITIONAL media buy and the stunning commercials and the brave client that OKed them. Without that Mustafa would have been answering the questions of his 278 closest friends.

  • Paul

    It’s only $0 if you don’t count the 50 million dollar TRADITIONAL media buy and the stunning commercials and the brave client that OKed them. Without that Mustafa would have been answering the questions of his 278 closest friends.

  • Pierre Foucart

    And the team that made the 180 short films in less than 24 hours was not working free either… nothing’s free there.

  • Pierre Foucart

    And the team that made the 180 short films in less than 24 hours was not working free either… nothing’s free there.

  • Ramon Ray

    Paul, you are so right – this “free” viral campaign really cost millions….

    Ramon Ray, Smallbiztechnology.com

  • Ramon Ray

    Paul, you are so right – this “free” viral campaign really cost millions….

    Ramon Ray, Smallbiztechnology.com

  • Jmartinez

    This atricle still doesn’t answer the question “How they did that?”

    Was it CGI of Mustafa?
    Was it a green-screen of Mustafas’ Head placed over his body?
    Was he standing in a shower waiting for the Tweets and such?
    Was there a filming crew in a hotel?
    Did Mustafa just hang out at a Hilton hotel, waiting for the Teleprompter to tell him OKAY YOUR ON!, Here’s your Script, hit it”?

  • Jmartinez

    This atricle still doesn’t answer the question “How they did that?”

    Was it CGI of Mustafa?
    Was it a green-screen of Mustafas’ Head placed over his body?
    Was he standing in a shower waiting for the Tweets and such?
    Was there a filming crew in a hotel?
    Did Mustafa just hang out at a Hilton hotel, waiting for the Teleprompter to tell him OKAY YOUR ON!, Here’s your Script, hit it”?

  • Jason

    $0? Why do people keep saying that? That just fuels the myth and for the next 6-12 months, every already-not-very-good client is going to brief us ‘go do me an old pice campaign, here’s $50 dollars…. no in fact you are going to be famous doing this, you should be paying ME for giving you the chance, me being such a brave client.’

    ARGHHHH

  • Jason

    $0? Why do people keep saying that? That just fuels the myth and for the next 6-12 months, every already-not-very-good client is going to brief us ‘go do me an old pice campaign, here’s $50 dollars…. no in fact you are going to be famous doing this, you should be paying ME for giving you the chance, me being such a brave client.’

    ARGHHHH

  • Robert

    FYI, Old Spice’s owner is ProctEr and Gamble (not ProctOr & Gamble) The also own Right Guard (and all of Gillette for that matter)

    Totally agree that the brand is built by (hundreds?) millions of dollars spread across traditional and new media as well as across a variety of promotions…

    What was the cost of producing 150 videos, and was there any repeat viewing or any measurement translating viewership to brand image/equity or new sales? …Reminds me of the old marketing saying “50% of my advertising is wasted…trouble is I don’t know which 50%…

    (from a former P&G brand manager)

  • Robert

    FYI, Old Spice’s owner is ProctEr and Gamble (not ProctOr & Gamble) The also own Right Guard (and all of Gillette for that matter)

    Totally agree that the brand is built by (hundreds?) millions of dollars spread across traditional and new media as well as across a variety of promotions…

    What was the cost of producing 150 videos, and was there any repeat viewing or any measurement translating viewership to brand image/equity or new sales? …Reminds me of the old marketing saying “50% of my advertising is wasted…trouble is I don’t know which 50%…

    (from a former P&G brand manager)

  • Peter May

    Another point to remember is that Old Spice has had ten years of brand growth and a history of bravery (basically since P&G bought the brand from Shulton). Search Old Spice on YouTube and you can see a history of very clever advertisements. I think it’s a stretch to call Old Spice a “washed up brand.” Or maybe it was too hard to resist the pun. Remember their body wash campaign? “I’ve got hair here but not here. Is Old Spice right for me?”

  • Peter May

    Another point to remember is that Old Spice has had ten years of brand growth and a history of bravery (basically since P&G bought the brand from Shulton). Search Old Spice on YouTube and you can see a history of very clever advertisements. I think it’s a stretch to call Old Spice a “washed up brand.” Or maybe it was too hard to resist the pun. Remember their body wash campaign? “I’ve got hair here but not here. Is Old Spice right for me?”

  • Tony

    I have to agree with Paul, Pierre and Jason. It would be useful to both designers and clients to better understand the totality of what made the eventual ‘quick response’ videos successful. I get the point that leveraging online media can be a cheap way of getting eyeballs on your content. But in this case, people were already primed and invested in Mustafa’s character and the style W+K created.

    Re-branding + Super Bowl Spot + SAG actors & production + Print/Web/TV ad development + Print/Web/TV media buys + etc…
    = $$$$$$$$.00

    If this article is aimed at Small Business and Start-ups, what can they learn from Old Spice’s viral approach? Post YouTube videos really fast?

  • Tony

    I have to agree with Paul, Pierre and Jason. It would be useful to both designers and clients to better understand the totality of what made the eventual ‘quick response’ videos successful. I get the point that leveraging online media can be a cheap way of getting eyeballs on your content. But in this case, people were already primed and invested in Mustafa’s character and the style W+K created.

    Re-branding + Super Bowl Spot + SAG actors & production + Print/Web/TV ad development + Print/Web/TV media buys + etc…
    = $$$$$$$$.00

    If this article is aimed at Small Business and Start-ups, what can they learn from Old Spice’s viral approach? Post YouTube videos really fast?

  • Timbo

    This campaign is bold but not FREE. Cmon writer

  • Timbo

    This campaign is bold but not FREE. Cmon writer

  • Jason

    And for some TRADITIONAL, by that i mean better, reporting of the Old Spice campaign:

    http://www.fastcompany.com/1670314/old-spice-youtube-videos-wieden
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDk9jjdiXJQ

    I’m unsubscribing. Hyah.

  • Jason

    And for some TRADITIONAL, by that i mean better, reporting of the Old Spice campaign:

    http://www.fastcompany.com/1670314/old-spice-youtube-videos-wieden
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDk9jjdiXJQ

    I’m unsubscribing. Hyah.

  • Brian

    The reality here is that this wasn’t free. This article misleads you to believe that this entire campaign cost the $0 to produce. The only costs they saved here was posting it to YouTube. The costs still exist in video production, paycheck for the actors and crew, location costs, equipment, etc. This wasn’t, by any stretch, a free lunch here for P&G.

    On top of all of that, there were all of the lead-up costs to this promotion. So, even though this viral portion may not have had dollars attached to the posting aspect, it did have dollars attached to all that came before and all that was required to produce it.

    For mom and pops, the takeaway here isn’t that this campaign was, by any stretch, free for P&G as it certainly was not. The takeaway here is that if, as a small business, you play your cards right and do the correct promotions along the way by building up your brand using unique (albeit risky) advertising campaigns and hopefully bringing in an audience, that you can let social media and the viral nature of YouTube bring in even more eyes.

    Of course, the bottom line is, millions of views on a video does not always translate into people buying your product. Just because an advertising campaign is clever, witty or unique doesn’t necessarily translate into a purchase.

  • Brian

    The reality here is that this wasn’t free. This article misleads you to believe that this entire campaign cost the $0 to produce. The only costs they saved here was posting it to YouTube. The costs still exist in video production, paycheck for the actors and crew, location costs, equipment, etc. This wasn’t, by any stretch, a free lunch here for P&G.

    On top of all of that, there were all of the lead-up costs to this promotion. So, even though this viral portion may not have had dollars attached to the posting aspect, it did have dollars attached to all that came before and all that was required to produce it.

    For mom and pops, the takeaway here isn’t that this campaign was, by any stretch, free for P&G as it certainly was not. The takeaway here is that if, as a small business, you play your cards right and do the correct promotions along the way by building up your brand using unique (albeit risky) advertising campaigns and hopefully bringing in an audience, that you can let social media and the viral nature of YouTube bring in even more eyes.

    Of course, the bottom line is, millions of views on a video does not always translate into people buying your product. Just because an advertising campaign is clever, witty or unique doesn’t necessarily translate into a purchase.

  • Ramon Ray

    Peter you are dead on….!!!!

  • Ramon Ray

    Peter you are dead on….!!!!

  • Francis

    $0??? What a load of rubbish. That’s a myth propagated by oh so many people that you can market your business online with exactly $0 and a bit of your time. It takes money to make money offline, and the same applies online.

  • Francis

    $0??? What a load of rubbish. That’s a myth propagated by oh so many people that you can market your business online with exactly $0 and a bit of your time. It takes money to make money offline, and the same applies online.

  • xgeronimo

    more and more people begin to see through marketing ploys .
    good news for the society, bad news for the marketers

  • xgeronimo

    more and more people begin to see through marketing ploys .
    good news for the society, bad news for the marketers

  • Alice

    Adding to the host of other scathing commenters… Was it just me or did I spot Old Spice as a ‘promoted’ Trending Topic? Pretty sure that doesn’t cost $0. Also they launched the campaign originally during Super Bowl… ah yes, another well-known $0 advertising slot.

    Yes it’s a clever and imaginative advertisement (although, even though I know it’s a joke and I hate to be a party pooper; as a woman I do find it a little bit insulting to have it suggested that I’d only be interested in hearing about politics if it’s presented by a sexist semi-naked muscle man) but there are much better examples out there of cheap-but-priceless viral campaigns. Admittedly the internet gives us some great free tools to market ourselves with – but without money behind you then it comes down largely to good luck which ones succeed or become truly viral for $0.

  • Alice

    Adding to the host of other scathing commenters… Was it just me or did I spot Old Spice as a ‘promoted’ Trending Topic? Pretty sure that doesn’t cost $0. Also they launched the campaign originally during Super Bowl… ah yes, another well-known $0 advertising slot.

    Yes it’s a clever and imaginative advertisement (although, even though I know it’s a joke and I hate to be a party pooper; as a woman I do find it a little bit insulting to have it suggested that I’d only be interested in hearing about politics if it’s presented by a sexist semi-naked muscle man) but there are much better examples out there of cheap-but-priceless viral campaigns. Admittedly the internet gives us some great free tools to market ourselves with – but without money behind you then it comes down largely to good luck which ones succeed or become truly viral for $0.

  • Mike

    Thanks, @everyone for the comments!

    @John We love stupid ads

    @Paul Of course the campaign cost millions in creative fees, production costs, etc. The $0 was what they spent on a media buy for the youtube videos.

    @Pierre Foucart ah but of course they didn’t work for free. Having spent 20+ years in production, I know that all too well. :)

    @Jmartinez My guess is green screen. Would be relatively simple to add the backgrounds and effects. Lighting is the tricky part.

    @Jason Companies spend many tens of millions on media buys. The viral campaign on youtube cost them $0 and when compared to traditional media, this is extraordinary.

    @Robert Thanks for the typo heads-up! As for the 50% wasted effort, I often think the same thing about all of my daily efforts. :)

    @Peter May Absolutley correct; these efforts don’t just happen, and PG laid the groundwork over an extended period of time.

    @Tony Small businesses need to understand the ongoing effort and strategy behind these campaigns. The lesson is that you can not just “Post YouTube videos really fast” and expect this kind of success.

    @Timbo Ah, but I never said that the “campaign” was free, only the youtube “buy.”

    @Jason Better would be nice, but I’ll continue doing what I can. :)

    @Brian Well if anyone believes that W+K or superbowl ads are free, than I would agree that the article is misleading. Anyone believe that to be true? Anyone?

    @Francis Well, I have uploaded a number of videos to YouTube and never been charged. I have not, however, hired Weiden and Kennedy to promote my brand and have thus saved millions.

    Thanks, everyone for reading!

  • Mike

    Thanks, @everyone for the comments!

    @John We love stupid ads

    @Paul Of course the campaign cost millions in creative fees, production costs, etc. The $0 was what they spent on a media buy for the youtube videos.

    @Pierre Foucart ah but of course they didn’t work for free. Having spent 20+ years in production, I know that all too well. :)

    @Jmartinez My guess is green screen. Would be relatively simple to add the backgrounds and effects. Lighting is the tricky part.

    @Jason Companies spend many tens of millions on media buys. The viral campaign on youtube cost them $0 and when compared to traditional media, this is extraordinary.

    @Robert Thanks for the typo heads-up! As for the 50% wasted effort, I often think the same thing about all of my daily efforts. :)

    @Peter May Absolutley correct; these efforts don’t just happen, and PG laid the groundwork over an extended period of time.

    @Tony Small businesses need to understand the ongoing effort and strategy behind these campaigns. The lesson is that you can not just “Post YouTube videos really fast” and expect this kind of success.

    @Timbo Ah, but I never said that the “campaign” was free, only the youtube “buy.”

    @Jason Better would be nice, but I’ll continue doing what I can. :)

    @Brian Well if anyone believes that W+K or superbowl ads are free, than I would agree that the article is misleading. Anyone believe that to be true? Anyone?

    @Francis Well, I have uploaded a number of videos to YouTube and never been charged. I have not, however, hired Weiden and Kennedy to promote my brand and have thus saved millions.

    Thanks, everyone for reading!

  • Nicole

    I don’t think it was that great of execution – great buzz generation, but no follow through.

    Here’s why:

    http://nicoleyeary.com/2010/07/old-spice-is-a-success-did-you-buy-old-spice-last-week/

  • Nicole

    I don’t think it was that great of execution – great buzz generation, but no follow through.

    Here’s why:

    http://nicoleyeary.com/2010/07/old-spice-is-a-success-did-you-buy-old-spice-last-week/

  • Pingback: Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics and Old Spice « crowdSPRING Blog

  • Ron

    While I applaud the efforts of the writer to generate discussion on this blog, I can’t help but think this may have come at the expense of both the small business owner and designers reading it.

    True, the You Tube media buy MIGHT have been free (we are assuming there was no paid seeding, hits, etc) but the ads did not attract millions of hits and turn a brand around because it was simply posted on a social network. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on research, strategy, creative and execution, to produce the right messaging, for the right audience, for the right platforms. And the money wasn’t spent because P+G likes sponsoring agencies or production companies. No, they did it because they realized if they wanted to turn around a brand there are no short cuts.

    Unfortunately, it’s this thinking of marketing as an overnight success that is one of the down falls of CrowdSpring. Yes, an ad, brandmark, etc can be designed for $200. But it is hard to imagine that a designer working for the chance to win $200 can take the time to do the behind the scenes work that results in a relevant and engaging piece of marketing.

    For a site that prides itself on helping both designers and clients, a posting like this does a grave disservice to both.

  • Ron

    While I applaud the efforts of the writer to generate discussion on this blog, I can’t help but think this may have come at the expense of both the small business owner and designers reading it.

    True, the You Tube media buy MIGHT have been free (we are assuming there was no paid seeding, hits, etc) but the ads did not attract millions of hits and turn a brand around because it was simply posted on a social network. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on research, strategy, creative and execution, to produce the right messaging, for the right audience, for the right platforms. And the money wasn’t spent because P+G likes sponsoring agencies or production companies. No, they did it because they realized if they wanted to turn around a brand there are no short cuts.

    Unfortunately, it’s this thinking of marketing as an overnight success that is one of the down falls of CrowdSpring. Yes, an ad, brandmark, etc can be designed for $200. But it is hard to imagine that a designer working for the chance to win $200 can take the time to do the behind the scenes work that results in a relevant and engaging piece of marketing.

    For a site that prides itself on helping both designers and clients, a posting like this does a grave disservice to both.

  • Pingback: Social Media and Ant Colonies | rosskimbarovsky.com

  • michaleric

    I think one of the key issues is that the ad talked to women. “Ladies, does your man look like me?” I don’t think women choose deodorant for their men. It also degrades their man in the process, “your man can’t look like me, but he can smell like me.”
    WebBusiness

Hey, it's crowdSPRING!

Tens of thousands of the world's best and most successful entrepreneurs, businesses, agencies and nonprofits use crowdSPRING for affordable and risk-free custom logo design, web design, a new company name or other writing and design services. More than 153,000 designers and writers work on crowdSPRING. We create designs and names people love. 100% guaranteed.

Get Blog Updates

Free E-Books

12 Question Interviews with cS designers.
Get it »

Contracts for designers who hate contracts.
Get it »

Contracts for software developers who hate contracts. Get it »

More in Marketing and branding, Small business, Start ups, Videos (333 of 641 articles)

/** chartbeat **/