NEW YORK In a test of brand power, Procter & Gamble's Old Spice hopes to entice visitors to its Web site with the lure of merchandise.
The brand recently began selling Old Spice t-shirts, flasks, caps and even beer koozies on oldspice.com. The merchandise is all inspired by brand imagery. T-shirts and belt buckles, for example, feature the iconic Old Spice ship logo. T-shirts run $15-20. An Old Spice beer koozie can be had for $2. One of the more unusual items is a $25 newsboy hat.
Old Spice shop Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., added the e-commerce component, an unusual addition for a consumer goods site, in an attempt to tap into the nostalgia for the brand. Its campaign touches on Old Spice's long lineage with its use of the Old Spice whistle and other familiar elements. The online store is designed to continue that embrace of tradition in the face of what Wieden creative director Eric Baldwin called a "cheesy" approach by rival brand Axe.
"Old Spice is an iconic brand," he said. "We saw a desire from our consumers. A lot of people are fans of Old Spice and want to show it off."
Other brands have tried to capitalize on their advertising cachet with merchandise. Coca-Cola and Budweiser operate online stores with a wide array of goods. Burger King has sold everything from King masks to videogames. P&G's Tide sells t-shirts. In fact, this isn't Old Spice's first foray into merchandise: it sold branded shirts a few years back through Urban Outfitters.
Wieden plans to stock more Old Spice items in the near future, though it doesn't expect the store to be much of a moneymaker for P&G.
"There are no sales goals to this initiative," said Britton Taylor, senior strategic planner at the shop. "It's about fostering brand love."