Let's Get Guys Talking Avout Sweat
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Let's Get Guys Talking Avout Sweat

While the Old Spice brand had seen several years of growth under P percentG marketing, several challenges still existed. Consumers over the age of 25 perceive Old Spice as their “grandfather’s brand” – consisting mostly of cologne and aftershave products.

Paul Holmes

While the Old Spice brand had seen several years of growth under P percentG marketing, several challenges still existed. Consumers over the age of 25 perceive Old Spice as their “grandfather’s brand” – consisting mostly of cologne and aftershave products. Anti-perspirant and deodorant products are low-interest and often ignored by consumer media. And media outlets have not heard from Old Spice in decades.

At the same time, there were opportunities. Despite public perception, Old Spice was a very popular AP/DO with guys under 25 years old. Old Spice AP/DO products were used by 1-in-3 young guys. And the PR pitch strategy outlined many stories that were fun topics for the media to “play with.”

Within the 2004 calendar year, Paine worked with the Old Spice brand to set severak objectives: secure leadership position in male grooming category; continue to grow relationships with key short-lead media; and reach out to young guys in relevant ways to build buzz and get them talking about sweat and Old Spice.

Based on identified challenges and opportunities, PainePR outlined A strategic approach for the “Let’s Get Guys Talking About Sweat” program. This three-point strategic plan set out to develop PR catalysts revolving around sweat that create talk/buzz in a voice the target consumer understands; reach teens and young guys on their own turf; and target key short-lead media to communicate Old Spice messages and leadership position in the category.

As short-lead media would not likely cover a low-interest product such as deodorant in a stand-alone pitch, PainePR conducted extensive research to identify events or moments in time involving sweat that we could link to Old Spice AP/DO products. 

Using this research, PainePR developed a 12-month media relations strategic plan to keep Old Spice AP/DO products front and center with short-lead media.

In June, PainePR launched the Annual Sweatiest Cities Index securing more than 135 million media impressions for the brand. The firm worked with P percentG product development to develop a proprietary formula to determine the top-100 sweatiest cities in the U.S. The Sweatiest Cities Index was released the first day of summer to maximize the weather conditions and position Old Spice AP/DO products as a solution to summer heat.

The Washington Post named Battle Mountain, Nev. the “Armpit of America.” The unsuspecting Nevada town embraced the title by celebrating the first ever “Festival in the Pit.” On PainePR’s recommendation, Old Spice sponsored the event and held an armpit beauty pageant and a sweat t-shirt contest. The Old Spice Festival in the Pit became the talk of the nation – securing more than 18 million impressions – with reporters readily talking about Old Spice AP/DO in context with the festival.

PainePR also had an undeniable urge to determine what Summer Olympic sports produced the most sweat based on proprietary sweat formulas. It turned out that it was men’s single tennis. More importantly, it turned out that the media found this information intriguing. The initiative proved to be a great success with Old Spice AP/DO positioned front and center. In all, the Sweatiest Summer Olympic Sports program generated a combined total of more than 16 million impressions.

Guys in the U.S. are known for their World Series parties, but what these men don’t know is that the food and alcohol they eat directly affects their sweat and body odor the following day. Old Spice issued an alert to news media on the “dangers” of body odor the day after a night of partying – with Old Spice AP/DO products positioned as a solution to awkward hygiene issues. The World Series pitch scored a cool 4.5 million impressions with consumers.

Finally, after the 2000 election debacle, who was sweating more than all those “chads” out there? To have a little fun with a serious subject, Old Spice offered a free stick of AP/DO to any guy named “Chad” who lived in any one of the 19 states that still used punch card ballots. The product remained the hero for this pitch, which netted more than 6 million impressions for the brand’s AP/DO product line.

In addition to securing the No. 1 category position for the first time in Old Spice brand history, the marketing team measured sales spikes during “Get Guys Talking About Sweat” initiatives in key markets and saw an average 14 percent increase when compared to sales at the same time in the previous year.

The PR effort also secured national and local placements in each of the top-40 markets, including Associated Press, Reuters, Business Week, Dallas Morning News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Los Angeles Times and countless other television and radio outlets.

The “Let’s Get Guys Talking About Sweat” program netted more than 191 million impressions in 2004, building buzz with guys on relatable topics (i.e. sports, sweat, humor … even politics).

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