World’s best ads ever #4: Old Spice returns with ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
During the early 2000s, Old Spice held a large portion of the US market for men’s hygiene products but was seen as an archaic and largely unstylish brand. It was reportedly on the chopping block at Procter & Gamble (P&G) — if it was unable to prove its growth potential, the brand, like P&G skincare brands Comet cleanser and Noxzema, could be sold.
To revamp its image and supercharge growth, Old Spice booted Saatchi & Saatchi and brought on Wieden+Kennedy in 2006. The strategy worked: Wieden+Kennedy reinvigorated the brand with humor, youthfulness and an irreverent edge.
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Most notable in turning the ship around was the 2010 campaign ‘Smell Like a Man, Man’, headlined by a cheeky 30-second hero spot called ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’. Starring actor and former NFL wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa, the ad targets straight female audiences. Mustafa speaks directly to his audience, suggesting that if the viewer’s romantic partner smelled like him — rather than “lady-scented body wash” — the viewer would be transported to a world of extraordinary possibilities, full of “tickets to that thing you love”, yachts and diamonds.
And the ad was a sensation: it went viral online and cinched the Grand Prix at Cannes, inarguably the most prestigious advertising award. During mid-2010, ‘Smell Like a Man, Man’ spots held eight of the top 11 most-popular videos on YouTube.
Originally debuted to promote Old Spice’s Red Zone After Hours Body Wash, the campaign saw such a positive reception that it was expanded to encompass a range of the brand’s other products.
Old Spice continued, with great success, to rebrand itself as a trendy player in the men’s deodorant and body wash category in the aftermath of ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’. It invested more in celebrity spokespeople, tapping LL Cool J, Will Ferrell and Niel Patrick Harris to star in its ads.