Revitalize a Brand with Social Media - dummies

Revitalize a Brand with Social Media

By Marsha Collier

It is possible to revitalize a brand through the savvy use of social media. When you think of Old Spice, what do you think of? Grandpa? Childhood Father’s Day gifts from Walgreens? Pretty much. In 2010, Procter & Gamble went full out and did something about the brand’s image.

During the Super Bowl, they began “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad campaign, featuring actor and former NFL practice squad wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa.

The commercial was posted to YouTube in February with the comment line: “We’re not saying this body wash will make your man smell like a romantic millionaire jet fighter pilot, but we are insinuating it.” As of today, the video has garnered over 42 million views.

In June 2009, Old Spice joined Twitter and began to build followers based on the popularity of the Super Bowl ad. On July 12, 2010, a single post from Old Spice tempted their audience (see the figure).


Waiting in the wings, Old Spice’s marketing agency, Wieden + Kennedy, had a team of marketers, copywriters, techies, and social media specialists at the ready in a studio in Portland. For three days, they invited users to interact with the Old Spice Guy on various social networks and tracked responses.

The comebacks were sent not only to web celebrities but also to everyday people who had previously commented on social platforms and showed an affinity for the brand.

Fans responded with comments and homemade videos, and the team answered with comments and videos. In the following three days, the team filmed 185 30-second videos in real time; responding to mentions of @OldSpice from high-profile social media influencers.

The videos were filled with non sequiturs delivered by Mustafa standing in his shower. His offbeat, cool-dude persona, peppered with carefully scripted responses, made each video more engaging than the one before. Allowing the team complete freedom to write marketing content in real-time was considered a brave move by Procter & Gamble.

At the end of the campaign, the “Old Spice Man” thanked everyone and said goodbye in a video. In three days, Old Spice had attained 1.8 billion campaign impressions. According to PRWeek, Old Spice sales increased 107 percent over the previous month.

Although this type of campaign is beyond the realm of most small businesses, scaling down the idea might just work.