Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Old Spice - The Man Your Man could smell like has left the Stage

It's true. Isaiah Mustafa is off to his next gig. The iconic hunk synonymous with Old Spice has left the brand. In his wake is a case study of how a partnership between a traditional CPG company (P&G), a brilliant creative team (W&K) and a talented actor (Isaiah Mustafa) revitalized a 71 year old brand.

Overnight the brand became a viral hit, making it the darling of the media and a commercial success. Previously known as "the deodorant my grandfather used", the relaunching of the brand was achieved by an overhaul of the brand strategy and the courage to break new ground. The team kept true to the brand’s core values - genuine, honest, sincere, authentic and masculine but re-staged them in a way that was relevant to a much younger audience.

They ditched the whistling sailor and girl in every port but kept the rugged, sexy guy and the jingle. What was brilliant about the new campaign was the way it appealed to women as much as it did to men (I want my man to look and smell like Mustafa). And with the clever use of humour, the character was aspirational and accessible to a target group looking for heroes and ways to build self-confidence.

A well executed marketing strategy was also key to the brand’s success – from the launch of the “The man your man could smell like” ad at Superbowl to the real time social media tactics that kept the brand top of mind and engaged with a wide consumer and media base.

So who will replace Mustafa? A familiar face from the big hair and diso days – Fabio. The casting for Mustafa’s successor must have been a nightmare – the same nightmare the producers of the James Bond movies must have gone through in replacing the iconic Sean Connery. Yet the Bond franchise, through some trial and error, has successfully built its fan base and stayed relevant.

It will be interesting to see if Fabio will resonate (or not) with the Old Spice fan base.
What do you think?