The Answer Just Might Surprise You
By Jack Neff
Published: July 26, 2010
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — Isaiah Mustafa, aka “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” has clearly broken through all previous viral-video records and achieved pop-icon status. The question is: How much Old Spice body wash has he sold? And the answer is a bit of a mystery.
Since Mr. Mustafa lent his sotto voce humor to the production wizardry of the Wieden & Kennedy ad in February, the Procter & Gamble Co. brand has been consistently gaining market share, even though that’s only been enough to erase a deficit for the brand built up earlier. In the 52 weeks ended June 13, it had a roughly flat share in a category that grew a robust 8.6%, according to data from SymphonyIRI.Then again, some other men’s brands also have been making substantial share gains of late, including P&G sibling Gillette and Beierdorf’s Nivea. And the thing Old Spice, Gillette and Nivea have in common isn’t Mr. Mustafa, but rather multiple national drops of high-value coupons. They included buy-one, get-one-free offers from both P&G brands and up to $4 off a single bottle of Nivea Men from Beiersdorf, reflecting unprecedented levels of promotional intensity in the category.
|Source: SymphonyIRI Dove Men+Care launched in February, so has no year-ago comparison.|
Meanwhile, Unilever’s Dove Men & Care has also picked up some share, albeit with lower-value coupons and higher price points.
The bottom line: Mr. Mustafa and Wieden & Kennedy are clearly selling some body wash, but they may not be responsible for the bulk of Old Spice’s sales gain this year.
Consider the four weeks ended June 13, possibly the best month ever for P&G body wash. Old Spice’s sales were up 106% from the prior-year period, jumping 4.8 share points in a category that grew 17.7%. But sales of Gillette body wash, also backed by buy-one-get-one-free coupons and by TV ads (but not Mr. Mustafa), were up a lot more, 277% and 3.9 share points, though it’s by far a smaller brand in the category.
Nivea men’s body wash, backed by little other media support but $4 coupons, saw its sales rise a mere 63% and its share go up 0.5 points.
And Dove Men & Care, the newest brand in the segment and against which all three were defending vigorously, dropped no coupons and was outside the main promotional burst of its February launch, but still held on to 2.4 share points for the four weeks ended June 13, down a bit from the 2.7 points for the 12-week period.
How much of Old Spice’s recent gains — of that 106% bump measured by Symphony IRI in June, for example — come from Mr. Mustafa’s ads and how much from the coupons? “It’s impossible to know,” said P&G spokesman Mike Norton.
Nor is it clear how much Old Spice’s 106% gain will disappear from P&G’s top line when coupon redemptions, which don’t figure into scanner data but do come off the company’s top line when financial results are reported next month, figure in.
But it seems clear the ad, which won the Film Grand Prix at the International Advertising Festival at Cannes in June, has had some positive impact. Old Spice began to reverse share losses as soon as it began in February.
Mr. Mustafa, a former NFL wide receiver who essentially switched to playing defense for Old Spice against the Dove launch, is now clearly back on offense. None of the data (including that for the four weeks ended July 11 that showed continued gains for P&G in body wash), yet reflects the sales impact of Mr. Mustafa’s 186 highly publicized personalized response videos earlier this month, which generated more than 34 million aggregate views and a billion PR impression in a week, according to P&G. In a single week, views of the personalized ads surpassed the nearly 29 million viral video views of Mr. Mustafa’s four TV ads since February.
As of July 18, Old Spice, with 94 million views, had become the No. 1 all-time most-viewed sponsored channel on YouTube, Mr. Norton said. Old Spice had eight of the top 11 most-popular videos on YouTube on July 16. In the six days following the start of Mr. Mustafa’s personalized videos, he reached more than 100 million followers.
The effort sent Old Spice to more than 80,000 Twitter followers (finally ahead of Mr. Mustafa’s own follower base of 30,000) and its Facebook fan base to 630,000. Facebook fan interaction jumped 800% since the launch of the personalized videos.
The effort also bumped traffic to OldSpice.com to 300%, inspired a fan to create a website (oldspicevoicemails.com) where people can download voicemail messages that sound like Mr. Mustafa, and inspired a marriage proposal from another fan, which was accepted.
In perhaps another boon for P&G, Mr. Mustafa has also inspired a counter-video from a man claiming to be a fan of Dove Men & Care, and who may be to some women a cautionary tale of the man their man could look like: http://bit.ly/b5lzAg.