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Old Spice's Bizarre Ad Brings Home a Marketing Win

What really marks the transition of a boy into a man? Apparently it is Old Spice’s Re-fresh body sprays. The personal care brand launched its latest campaign for the Re-fresh line of deodorants during the NFL Playoffs. The commercial has been both criticized and widely acclaimed and has polarized viewers in the extreme. You have to watch the ad to know what we’re talking about.

The commercial looks like it was based on a real life insight: parents have a hard time watching their kids grow up, and this ad greatly exaggerates the insight. We know some moms are possessive about their sons, we just didn’t know how much. The TVC has been repurposed for the Internet. Let’s take a look at how it performed. The TVC was uploaded to Old Spice’s YouTube channel on January 3rd and in under a week gained over 4 million views. Apart from the TVC itself, a thirty second version, two other shorter videos and a how-to video have been uploaded as part of the campaign and they’ve collectively gained another 600,000 views. Each video carries Old Spice’s unique brand style in the script, direction and every other detail.




On Facebook, the brand has added over 17,000 new fans since the video was uploaded, .66% which is more than its average growth rate of 0.03% in December. The fan engagement, number of people talking about the brand also increased.

Old Spice made just 4 proactive tweets about the ad, which isn’t that much, but they’ve all been well received. This quirky tweet has been retweeted and favorited over 800 times; far higher than normal and is one its most retweeted tweets in the last 2 months.

This tweet has been retweeted and favorited over 70 times.

These tweets saw much higher engagement on Twitter compared its other recent tweets. Over and above the engagement the brand, which was losing followers in the last month, witnessed a healthy re-growth in its follower base.



Just as new followers began to pour in, the number of people who @mentioned the brand in their tweets also shot up. Meanwhile, the brand replied to just a handful of these mentions.

ImageThe brand was even mentioned by a few Twitter Celebrities and other brands with publications like College Humor, and in our favorite tweet of all by Tide.

The brand has not even begun to use the tagline as a hashtag yet, but users have already started using #smellcometomanhood and tweeted it close to 150 times.

The commercial brought in over 6 million new views to the brand’s channel, better engagement to the Facebook page, new followers and a spike in mentions on their Twitter page; now if that doesn’t qualify as a marketing win, we don’t know what will. You might hate the ad or love the ad, but one thing’s for sure; you cannot ignore it.


Unmetric compiled this report by sourcing data from its social media benchmarking platform. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube statistics were gathered for the period of January 3rd- 12th, 2014.

Join The Conversation

  • Ranjani Raghupathi's picture
    Jan 14 Posted 3 years ago Ranjani Raghupathi

    Hi Jessica,

    Old Spice has boldly pulled the concept off with style, like they have in all their previous ads. 
    Glad you liked the article. We sure enjoyed the ad too.
  • Jessica Wysocki's picture
    Jan 13 Posted 3 years ago Jessica Wysocki

    I must admit while the ad was somewhat weird..and creepy, I haven't personally ever seen anything that could compare to this Old Spice commerical. I felt the need just to share it with all my friends and social media followers for the main reason that it was so creepy and weird. Within days it was viral, nobody could ignore it even if they couldnt stand it. This is marketing brillance when a company creates such a buzz for one minute long commerical.

    Great article, I will be sharing this with all my Tweeps (:

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