How Old Spice Swaggerized Their Brand And Men Everywhere

Today Old Spice is one of the most popular deodorant and body wash brands for men of all ages, but that wasn’t always the case. On the shelves since 1938, Old Spice had long been associated with the past and elderly gentlemen (I know that the first thing that came to mind whenever I smelled original Old Spice was my grandfather). However, in 2008 all of that changed. Old Spice and Wieden + Kennedy kicked off a new campaign, Old Spice Swagger, and completely transformed the face of the Old Spice brand, as well as their customers.

Britton Taylor of Wieden + Kennedy presented a case study of Old Spice’s Swagger campaign earlier this week at Effie Worldwide’s ‘Ideas That Worked’ Webinar. The Webinar focused on three Effie Award winning-campaigns, exploring the goals behind each campaign, the big idea and implementation and, of course, the results. You can watch Effie Worldwide’s great video overview of the campaign here, and read about it below.

The Background

The Old Spice Swagger campaign, which was the 2010 Silver Effie Winner, kicked off in 2008 when Old Spice realized they had to pick up their game if they wanted to compete with new younger men’s products, specifically Axe. When Axe entered the scene they turned the industry on its head – instead of focusing on the effectiveness of their product as an odor blocker, Axe promoted themselves as the product to buy if you want to attract the ladies. Old Spice, who had been standing by their 1-800-PROVE-IT campaign (try it and if you don’t like it, just call 1-800-PROVE-IT and we’ll buy you a stick of yours!), bit the dust.

To make matters worse, Old Spice’s “Glacial Falls” scent was performing horribly. It was the worst performing scent in the Old Spice portfolio and was in danger of being discontinued, losing the company precious shelf space. The company decided that they wanted to rebrand and re-launch “Glacial Falls” to save the scent, and give the brand a boost. They went to Wieden + Kennedy for help.

The Goals

Old Spice wanted to keep the “Glacial Falls” scent, but totally rebrand it. Their target was young guys between the ages of 12 to 34, to compete with Axe. They were aiming to reach an audience of guys who want to smell great, but not to take themselves to seriously. Old Spice had created a niche for itself as a product for older, more serious men and they wanted to move away from that.

The objective of the rebranding campaign was to double the sales of “Glacial Falls”. They surpassed this goal, but we’ll get to that later.

The Big Idea

So how did Old Spice and Wieden + Kennedy transform “Glacial Falls”? They gave it a new, awesome name and a new awesome attitude – Swagger. In the webinar earlier this week, Britton Taylor explained that Old Spice “wanted a name with some cultural currency and attitude. ‘Swagger’ oozes confidence and is something that all guys want to possess.” The name was perfect. In fact, once they came up with the name about 75% of the work was done – the rest of the campaign just flowed naturally from there.

The campaign would be all about how Old Spice gives guys “swagger” – transforming them from nerdy wimps into strong, manly studs. The campaign billed the new scent, Swagger, as “The Scent That Makes a Difference,” and hit the web running.

The Campaign

The Old Spice Swagger campaign featured traditional print and television executions (which also made their way onto YouTube), as well as a hugely successful online campaign at All aspects of the campaign showed off the brand’s new look and attitude and were a huge success.

Print and Television Ads

Old Spice released a series of print and television ads featuring Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears, LL Cool J, and NASCAR driver Tony Stewart. The ads showed these huge celebrities as young men. Before they started using Old Spice Swagger they were nerds without confidence. Swagger made them the confident, popular, and awesome men they are today.