Old Spice is a leading male grooming product range in Procter & Gamble's portfolio, partnering the Gillette family, and sold primarily in North America, though it is also marketed in several international territories. The brand actually dates back to 1934, when it was launched by the Shulton Company. It was originally marketed as a women's fragrance, although a men's "shaving lotion" was launched in 1938 and proved considerably more successful. It was introduced to Europe during the 1940s and 1950s (initially by American GI's) and established a substantial following, especially in the UK. Shulton also launched several additional mass market after shave and cologne brands including Blue Stratos and Mandate. The business was acquired by chemical company American Cynamid in 1970, and then sold on to P&G in 1990. By then, though, sales had begun to decline, with Old Spice generally perceived as old-fashioned and out-of-touch with a younger audience. P&G managed to restore some life in the early 2000s by expanding the brand into deodorant and wash products, but it suffered a serious blow from the US launch of Unilever's Axe male grooming brand. Old Spice hit back with a series of endearingly odd spots featuring 'Evil Dead' actor Bruce Campbell before finding their true form in 2010 in ads (by Wieden & Kennedy) starring former professional football player Isaiah Mustafa as "the man your man could smell like". Several other NFL stars were used for different variants of the main brand, most memorably Terry Crews. These proved immensely popular with millennial customers. As a result of these, a massive couponing campaign, and an explosion of different products and fragrances, sales of Old Spice soared, more than doubling during the course of 2010 and overtaking Axe as the top-selling male grooming product in the US. The full range now extends to more than 80 different products, divided into three sub-families of Classic, higher-priced Red Zone and longer-lasting High Endurance. Euromonitor & Sanford Bernstein estimated sales of $1.2bn for the Old Spice range in 2013. More recently, Old Spice's star has waned somewhat. After ten years the W&K ad campaign has also rather run out of steam, suggesting that a new approach may be required. Matt Krehbiel is VP, Old Spice at P&G.
Capsule checked 30th December 2020
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Adbrands Social Media 12th Feb 2018: Wieden & Kennedy's ads for Old Spice have definitely lost more than a little of their power. We've been unimpressed by most of the recent executions but we have to admit that this one made us laugh. (More than its longer accompanying spot using the same setting). Reminded us of those classic Tex Avery cartoon routines, where a series of absurd visual gags are piled on top of one another to ludicrous effect.
Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Sep 2016: Ads of the Week "The Road". Wieden & Kennedy's latest set of ads for Old Spice are more low-key, reflecting the less in-your-face personality of the brand's new spokesman, NFL star Von Miller, compared to the incomparably shouty Terry Crews. But they're no less crazy. This one, "The Road", offers a nice satire of that ridiculous Johnny Depp ad for Dior Sauvage. Remind yourself of those parallels over on our Facebook page, where you'll also find another equally off-the-wall spot.
Adbrands Social Media 2nd Jun 2016: Like something that has escaped your most bizarre bodyspray and beats-inspired nightmare, the latest Old Spice viral is a mash-up of all the best bits from Wieden & Kennedy's most recent campaigns, digitally enhanced for extra madness. Words fail us: there are sights here that can never be unseen. But that doesn't stop it from being awesomely entertaining.
Adbrands Social Media 11th Jan 2016: Wieden & Kennedy's new direction for Old Spice features fewer laugh-out-loud moments; and certainly a lot less shouting now that Terry Crews has departed the fold; but arguably a greater degree of sophistication. Slightly. No shortage of absurdity though.
Adbrands Social Media 11th Sep 2015: More unadulterated insanity from Wieden & Kennedy for Old Spice as spokesbodies Terry Crews and Isaiah Mustafa go head to head over whose version of that wash product is more appealing. Timber or Bearglove? Loud or suave? Which is better?
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