Old Spice is following a host of competitors and Procter & Gamble Co. sibling Gillette with ads that aim to make its customers better men—albeit with a liberal dose of over-the-top irony from Wieden & Kennedy.
The new “Never Let a Friend Lose His Swagger” campaign purports to uncover a male crisis as it shows heroes saving friends from things that keep them from enjoying “guy time.” It’s based on a brand-commissioned survey that found 92 percent of guys feel it’s important to maintain their male friendships, yet 79 percent spend less guy time as they get older due to everything from work to babies to binge watching.
A series of 30- to 90-second online and TV spots feature Sarunas Jackson ("Insecure," "Games People Play") and Alberto Rosende ("Shadowhunters") extracting friends from the near catatonia of binge watching, mind-numbing overtime and early-evening new-dad slumber in favor of nights out. Steve Rogers of Biscuit Filmworks directed.
Even so, guys need not leave the house to buy Old Spice. The YouTube version of ads include a “shop now” button leading to P&G’s direct-to-consumer Old Spice Barbershop and an offer for free socks.
“Guys are facing a crisis, and it’s not just when they forget to apply Old Spice to their armpits,” says Matthew Krehbiel, Old Spice associate brand director. “One insight that we’ve been hearing more and more is that men, of all ages, are deprioritizing time with their guy friends.”