BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Isaiah Mustafa, aka the Old Spice Guy, ranks with Wendy's pitchwoman Clara "Where's the Beef" Peller among those who transcended ad greatness to achieve pop-culture stardom.
His original February ad from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., won a Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival and generated more than 20 million viral views, according to Procter & Gamble. The brand and Wieden followed that up with nearly 200 customized videos over three days via Twitter. The campaign spawned more than 140 million total YouTube views to date (including parodies) and generated 1.8 billion PR impressions, according to P&G.
But has he sold body wash? Undoubtedly, according to P&G, which points to huge sales gains for Old Spice body wash since February, which has led the company to claim men's brand leadership in the category.
Realistically, it's hard to know how much soap Mr. Mustafa has sold or who leads. SymphonyIRI data show Old Spice body-wash sales up 27% to 107% in four-week periods since February. But at typical industry redemption rates, the buy-one-get-one-free and other high-value coupons Old Spice has distributed since February would account for most of the brand's sales gains and all share gains. Since Unilever started issuing BOGO coupons, Axe edged out Old Spice in body-wash sales for the eight weeks ended Oct. 3, according to SymphonyIRI data, which exclude Walmart, dollar stores or clubs.
James Moorhead, the man (or brand manager) behind the man your man could smell like, 31, isn't your typical P&G brand manager. Having spent seven years coaching high-school hockey in Cincinnati before moving to Boston in his current role, he's doing what for most P&G brand managers would be like playing without a goalie -- letting his agency make ads without copy testing.
Mr. Moorhead has worked with and without copy testing. But he said copy testing wouldn't have worked for Mr. Mustafa's ads. For "Responses," Mr. Moorhead wasn't even on set, which said was a vote of confidence in Wieden. As for copy testing the original ad, he said: "Imagine 'The Man Your Man Could Smell Like' in a storyboard. .... It never would have passed. It really was about the executional magic that Wieden could create."