Old Spice Is Killing It on YouTube Again, but Sales Are Down Double-Digits

Buy-One-Get-One-Free Coupons Drove Gains Last Year (and Probably Not the Funny Spots)

By Published on .

By now it's clear Isaiah Mustafa has elbowed aside faux competition from Fabio to remain Old Spice Guy. The latest iteration of the video campaign drew 17 million viewers last week, the most since Volkswagen's "The Force" campaign in February.

Visible Measures identified more than 60 original clips for the campaign, and nearly 50 uploaded just last week. The campaign has generated a whopping 50,000 comments thus far.

But to echo the question in the comments section of nearly any story about Mr. Mustafa: Has he really sold much Old Spice?

Yes, at least in a qualified way.

Last year at this time, as Old Spice and Wieden & Kennedy were setting viral-video records with the "Responses" campaign, Procter & Gamble Co. also was spewing so many buy-one-get-one-free coupons for Old Spice body wash that it swamped the impact any advertising could have. In recent months, Old Spice has trimmed couponing, though still offering less-appealing coupons combining deodorant and body wash. Unilever rival Axe, in catchup mode, has stepped up its own freebie deals on body wash since last summer.

Cooling the deals has led Old Spice body wash to a 24% sales decline in the four weeks ended July 10 and a 9% decline for the 12-weeks period vs. a year ago, according to SymphonyIRI data. Yet it's still ahead of Axe for each of those periods and, by a smaller margin, for the 52 weeks. And any way you cut it, Old Spice is the leading men's brand now -- though that data doesn't cover Walmart, club and dollar stores. And Beiersdorf's Nivea and Henkel's Right Guard are gaining more ground than either of late.

A year ago, boosted by Mr. Mustafa and lots of coupons, Old Spice sales were up more than 100% in the July period. But comparing the most recent four weeks to two years ago, with more normal promotion on both ends, Old Spice body wash sales still are up more than 50%. Mr. Mustafa must get credit for some of that , though inducing people to try Old Spice by largely giving it away last year and a price per ounce that now remains lower than Axe hasn't hurt either.

Last Week Brand Campaign Agency Current Week Views* % Change in Views** Watch the Spot
1 1 Old Spice New Old Spice Guy Fabio Wieden & Kennedy 17,238,076 384% Old Spice: New Old Spice Guy Fabio
2 2 Intel, Toshiba Inside Pereira & O' Dell 3,434,969 65% Intel, Toshiba: Inside
3 New Nokia World's Quickest Ad N/A 2,342,647 New Nokia: World's Quickest Ad
4 New Kia Less is Beautful N/A 2,311,345 New Kia: Less is                                                        Beautful
5 3 Evian Live Young BETC Euro RSCG 1,795,876 27% Evian: Live Young
6 4 Dirt Devil You Know When It's the Devil Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg 1,764,708 57% Dirt Devil: You Know When It's the Devil
7 6 Blendtec Will it Blend? In-House 909,069 39% Blendtec: Will it Blend?
8 Back on Chart Heineken The Date Wieden + Kennedy 907,023 Back on Chart Heineken: The Date
9 7 K-Swiss,Foot Locker CEO Kenny Powers 72andSunny 876,956 38% K-Swiss,Foot Locker: CEO Kenny Powers
10 8 Google The Web Is What You Make Of It BBH ;Google Creative Labs 645,286 13%  <a href='http://adage.com/directory/apple/194' class='directory_entry' title='AdAge Directory'> <a href='http://adage.com/directory/apple/194' class='directory_entry' title='AdAge Directory'>Apple</a></a>: If You Don't Have an iPhone
In this article: