Old Spice Gives Its Ad Campaign A Fresh Spin

Editor’s note: The following content has been updated for 2018.

How do you make an established ad campaign feel like a new ad campaign?

Procter & Gamble’s Old Spice brand showed marketers how to pull this a few years ago with it’s “Smellmitment” offering.

The campaign united its two iconic brand spokesmen, Terry Crews and Isaiah Mustafa, for the very first time. The result was pitch-perfect marketing that both connected with existing and new audiences.

Why did it work so well? A few reasons:

The Fan-Favorite Stars and Scents

Crews and Mustafa were more than mere spokesmen for the brand. These former NFL players portrayed popular eccentric characters in their prior ads for Old Spice. Their distinctive characters were named for specific scents, which were among the brand’s most popular. Crews and Mustafa were credited with breathing new life into the brand and their familiar faces created continuity.

A Fresh Football Rivalry

The new ads continued Old Spice’s tradition of comical campaigns but added a new twist: consumers were asked to commit to their favorite scent and express their personal “Smellmitment.” Crews embodied the Bearglove scent with his Bearglove Man, while Mustafa represented the Swagger and Timber scents with his portrayals of Swagger Man and Timber Man. Each argued for scent superiority, while also showing how variety is the spice of life, as well as the Old Spice brand. This competition element made the campaign feel fresh and compelling.

“The power of scent and smelling fresh and manly helps inspire confidence, and Old Spice’s versatile scent lineup,” said John Sebastian, Old Spice brand director for Procter & Gamble. “Legions of young guys are still trying to figure what kind of men they want to become and Old Spice is always right there as they navigate the seas of manhood.”

The campaign was developed by Wieden+Kennedy (you can see some smart behind-the-scenes footage here) and included TV, print advertising, digital advertising, social media marketing, and POP. The TV advertising effort featured a series of seven spots throughout the NFL season.

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