The Old Spice Man Is a Hit with Viewers, but Can He Sell Products?

The granite-bellied, cello-voiced Old Spice Man can bake cakes, refurbish kitchens and change pants instantaneously -- but can he sell Old Spice products? It's a surprisingly controversial question.

No one could deny that the 73-year-old brand's current ad campaign, which was crafted by ad agency Wieden + Kennedy, has been enormously popular with consumers, generating millions of hits on YouTube and turning former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa into an instant Internet icon. But once observers started looking at its impact on sales, they noticed something odd: Sales of one of Old Spice's body wash lines actually fell 7% for the full-year ending in mid-June, according to data from the tracking firm SymphonyIRI.

Procter & Gamble (PG), which makes Old Spice, quickly countered the negative spin with a barrage of data from Nielsen showing huge increases for all of the brand's body wash lines, including Red Zone. Indeed, the increases are so huge -- 1,900% in the case of the Dry Skin Defense wash -- it makes you suspect there's something else going on there.

And there is. As Advertising Age notes, Old Spice isn't the only men's toiletry brand that's been way up recently. Gillette (also owned by P&G) and Nivea have also seen major increases thanks to heavy distribution of coupons, something Old Spice did as well.



There's another factor to consider, too. The comparison that shows the sharpest sales spikes for Old Spice is between the four-week period ending Feb. 21 (during which the brand kicked off its current campaign) and the four-week period ending July 21. Naturally, people buy more products meant to make them smell clean during the sweaty summer months. "The comparison of July to February data is questionable, because of seasonality patterns associated with deodorants," says Jerry Thomas, president and CEO of the research firm Decision Analyst. "A much better comparison would be to the same month in the previous year. Or, even better, a current quarter of data compared the same quarter last year."

And seeing as New York, a market big enough to move the needle all on its own, is currently in the middle of its hottest summer on record, there's every reason to suspect such seasonality patterns will be exaggerated this year.

Final verdict: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like may be as good at pitching body wash as he is at everything else, but he's also had a lot of help.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

How to Avoid Financial Scams

Avoid getting duped by financial scams.

View Course »

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

97 Comments

Filter by:
KINGFLOORS

Who cares really, actually its probably because they sponser Tony Stewart...say at begining of Feb when race season kicks off or so.....Yeah that's it....Marketing smarketing.....

August 02 2010 at 5:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bobvanbuskirk1

i looked at my bottle and it says proctor and gamble uk on it and then it says made in germany .
the website is here .
http://www.uk.pg.com/products/products/oldSpice.html

August 02 2010 at 5:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bobvanbuskirk1

here in germany we still get it in the glass bottle ,i am not sure why that is but i buy it all the time.

August 02 2010 at 5:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lilyfied05

leave to american to conduct "opinion polls" and "statiscal reason" on everything. Let's disect everything huh... how ridiculous why cant you folks just leave a good thing along who cares if sales have increased or decreased b/c of Isaih...the commercials are creative, entertaining and all that good stuff and he is of course delicious eye candy...can't you guys just enjoy things on a human level anymore... or at least just let the rest of enjoy without your overanalytical bullshit!!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 02 2010 at 5:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lilyfied05's comment
DeportPalin

I am an American and I could not agree with you more. This over analysis of so many things is to make people justify their exitance.

August 02 2010 at 6:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Julie Layton

The ad made me laugh!

August 02 2010 at 5:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Evelyne

This Man can splice in my pool anyday aall day and all through the night. He can ride his white horse to my house anytime he wants! He iis really REAL! How old is he?

August 02 2010 at 4:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cdschick4

Old Spice smells way too pungent.I'll take Isaiah Mustafa,though!

August 02 2010 at 4:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sondra

no ome wanys to get a whiff of old spice again...from the dark ages...however, I have asked a few gentlemen about it and they indicate that if old spice put out one called SWAGGER as their NASCAR promotes it...then they MIGHT try the scent...maybe chang it to be a little softer...most gentlemen I meet wear oils or less dramatic fragrances....not overpowering and unique to be asked...:hummm, you smell good, what's that your wearing?"

August 02 2010 at 4:27 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Kent

All I have to say about Old Spice is bring back eletric pre-shave. Nothing sets up my beard like Old Spice. William's Lectric Shave, Menan, and store brands just don't do the job.

August 02 2010 at 4:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
juanclassy

Silly…odd, that something as simple as an ad for Old Spice could cause so much controversy, once again proving that imbeciles are alive and well in the Matrix, and thus need to unplug and get a life!

Opinions people, remember they are like ass%$#@s and armpits that means everyone has them. Either you like the smell or you don’t! The actual commercial is amusing, nothing thought provoking, except perhaps if you don’t get much chance of having one (thought) that is?

August 02 2010 at 3:01 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply