by Merlin Hernandez

I have always associated Old Spice with ornery old men, set in their ways, and basically disagreeable. That was the “brand identification” I had for that product and would I never think of buying it as a gift for any one. Over the years, the product seemed to have exhausted its life cycle as it moved beyond the maturity stage, and lost its appeal. It was often found at bargain counters. An eclectic array of new fragrances phrased as adventurous, virile, and manly filled our ad space.
Enter Proctor and Gamble with plans to revitalize the 70 year old brand to make it once more appealing to men in their sexual prime. They adjusted the fragrance for contemporary appeal, expanded the product line to include body washes and sprays, upgraded the packaging, and used a mass-market pricing strategy. The new brand image was woven around product attributes that would brand the product as meeting the desirable lifestyle needs of today’s young male. It might have been a hard sell as many younger people would have associated the brand with older men.

The decision to phrase the ads with a combination of parody and irreverence rolled into hubris and youthful virility was brilliant, as it transcended the credibility gap to amuse and entertain while placing the product once more on the radar of the young male demographic. The ads had instant and successful appeal to a wide cross-section of potential buyers that comprise the target market – young men, older men, girlfriends, wives, and mothers.

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