What’s Really Behind the Popular Old Spice Ad?

Old Spice Argues That Real Men Smell Good (New York Times)

The current Old Spice television advertising campaign has received considerable customer and media attention.  This old-time Procter & Gamble brand has found renewed interest for its unique production and fun approach to selling men’s body wash.  The ad, produced by one of the top U.S. advertising agencies Wieden + Kennedy, remarkably is not primarily produced using video graphics. 

However, ad production is not the only issue notable about this commercial.  As laid out in this story, the key marketing decision has less to do with the final result found in the ad than it does with what got P&G marketers there in the first place.  As with many marketing decisions it was a case of having a problem that needed to be addressed.  In Old Spice’s case, the problem was how to get their main target market – men – to use a body wash product.  And one of the biggest obstacles, learned through marketing research techniques, is that men are often not the primary purchasers of men’s body wash.  Rather, women make the purchase.  Additionally, many men don’t even like the idea of body wash compared to bar soap.

So how do you reach the target market when the actual purchaser is often someone else and the target market may not even like the product concept?  Read this story to find out how P&G is doing it.

In the 30-second spot, by Wieden & Kennedy in Portland, Ore., which relies on an ingeniously constructed set, the actor strolls from the bathroom to the deck of a boat and ultimately — before the camera pulls back for a final shot — Mr. Mustafa sits on a horse, proclaiming, “I’m on a horse.” The spot became an Internet sensation, drawing more than 13 million views on YouTube.

So is the real target market men or women?

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