Many years ago, one of the currently most successful personal care brands, Old Spice, faced the problem of not appealing to a younger audience. Although back then the company was promoting its products to the older generations of consumers, after assessing emerging market trends, it decided to switch to a younger target audience. However, this was a difficult thing to do , because Old Spice had a reputation as a company that sold products to older people. That meant appealing to a younger target audience was going to take some rebranding, and the brand had to change its image. It did this successfully with a bold marketing campaign.
To save the brand of Old Spice, the company understood that it had to think big and create a marketing campaign that would grab attention. That’s why Old Spice decided to work with the same marketing professionals that came up with Nike’s own “Just Do It” slogan.
Throughout the market research phase before the campaign was launched, the Old Spice found out that over half of all body wash purchases were actually made by women – not men who were the target audience. This was a key fact which, when taken into account, made the entire campaign become so successful.
When the campaign was planned, the marketing professionals decided to go the opposite way of all the other market competitors. Instead of running ads that were male-centric, they decided to start a discussion between couples around the country around body wash, and managed to convince many women to stop buying their partners female-targeted products.
The entire effort resulted in a campaign that went viral all over the globe, titled “Mad Your Man Could Smell Like”. The ad starred the Old Spice guy addressing women instead of men, while making lighthearted fun about other men using products that are generally targeted at women. However, if they stopped using those types of products, the partners of those women could at least smell like the Old Spice Guy.
Throughout all of the jokes, the actor moved through numerous sets and attention-grabbing transitions, making the commercial incredibly campy. Finally, to drive the point home, he stated that anything would be possible if only men didn’t smell like ladies, and used Old Spice instead.
The ad was launched before the Super Bowl in 2010, right around the time that other personal care brands such as Dove were also debuting their own ads. However, the company made the smart decision of launching the entire ad campaign on social media instead of TV, which worked wonders for making the campaign go viral, as it was seen by over 20 million people in only three days.
However, the campaign didn’t stop there, as the marketers decided to create nearly 200 new videos responding to celebrities’ and fans’ questions on social media. The videos were scripted and uploaded to YouTube, which helped make the campaign one of the best ones of the decade. The goal of the campaign was to increase the company’s sales towards younger generations by 15%, but just a few months later, the sales had increased by 125%, which made the business become the top company for men’s body wash.
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