Old Spice Campaign Is Great Marketing, but Lacks CRM Benefits

Ann All

Social channels are still used largely for marketing and public relations. A recent Digital Brand Expressions survey found those two areas were, by far, the most likely to be included in social media communications plans (for the companies that had them). Sales is a distant third. While some social media campaigns are hailed as successful marketing efforts, few attempt to move beyond that to full-fledged social CRM.


When I interviewed CRM analyst and advisor Brent Leary last summer, one of the points he made was that social CRM, while it relies heavily on communicating with customers via social channels like Facebook and Twitter, works best with a solid foundation of traditional CRM. He told me:

At some point, you do have to enter the formal sales and customer-service processes. You need to integrate social media into those formal processes.

I think CRM expert Wim Rampen would agree, based on a post on Win Rampen's Blog. Rampen says the recent wildly successful Old Spice campaign, in which hunky spokesperson Isaiah Mustafa responded to fan communications on social channels like Twitter via a series of clever YouTube videos, is not social CRM.


Rampen believes the Old Spice campaign lacked four key elements of social CRM, most of which take their cues from traditional CRM.


While traditional CRM calls for targeting approaches to specific customer segments, the Old Spice campaign cast a wide net, writes Rampen.


Old Spice also didn't make an effort to focus on its most valuable customers, another key tenet of traditional CRM. Instead, it reached out to celebrities. Granted, this earned the brand a lot of media attention, but it didn't promote a closer connection with customers.


Providing value for the customer is another area in which the Old Spice campaign fell short, opines Rampen. While it provided fleeting entertainment value, it made no effort to find out what its customers or potential customers actually want from a body wash. (Body wash is the product Mustafa plugs, though I question whether many folks even know this.)


Lastly, while the campaign generated considerable buzz, Rampen thinks it could have been even more effective if it let its customers take the lead in promoting Old Spice. He writes:

For all we (and they) know, none of the people engaging in the campaign actually used, will use, recommended or will recommend the product itself.

Several folks commenting on Rampen's post contribute what I think are some great additional thoughts. @LawrenceOfAvaya says the campaign lacked "deliberate structure, plan, customer information gathering and use, campaign alignment and impact on later service moments." Laurence Buchanan writes customers weren't engaged in a two-way dialogue or given any real sense that they were controlling the conversation. Brian Vellmure would have welcomed "an onramp for ongoing engagement." Maria Ogneva says social CRM isn't a campaign, but "a long-term commitment, cultural shift and the ability and *willingness* to walk a mile in your customers' (consumers) shoes."


A common thread running through most of the comments: Procter & Gamble (which owns the Old Spice brand) had the opportunity to use the campaign as part of a more cohesive social CRM initiative, but failed to do so.

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Jul 29, 2010 8:47 AM Brian Vellmure Brian Vellmure  says:

Hi Ann,

Thanks for the mention. While it's important to recognize the opportunities that Old Spice (and other brands) have before them and may have missed, it's also important to recognize that I don't think any of those mentioned in this article (including me) know the behind the scenes goals of the campaign, nor if this was part of a larger integrated campaign or customer engagement initiative.

It will be interesting to see if P&G who is widely regarded for co-creation and open innovation outside of its corporate boundaries will use the Old Spice man publicity to engage its customers or if this achieved the desired goals of brand recognition and buzz. It was a phenomenal campaign - well conceived and well executed and the payoff in buzz and sales has been measurable.

Best regards,


Jul 29, 2010 9:05 AM Ann All Ann All  says: in response to Brian Vellmure

Thanks, Brian. I agree it's important to clarify that we don't really know what P&G hoped to achieve w/ this campaign. If it was to create buzz or to establish Old Spice as an edgier brand, I'd say it was a huge success! I didn't mean to diminish the creativity of the campaign and hope it didn't come across that way. I've begun hinting to my husband that I'd really like it if he baked me a cake and delivered it on horseback

Jul 29, 2010 9:09 AM Ann All Ann All  says: in response to Maria Ogneva


While I agree w/ you, I think I would have liked to see P&G take it a step further w/ more obvious customer engagement. That said, I spent far too much time watching the videos and recommending them to friends. Does that make me any likelier to buy Old Spice? No, but it does give me a 'warm fuzzy' for the brand that certainly doesn't hurt.

Jul 29, 2010 12:35 PM Brian Vellmure Brian Vellmure  says: in response to Ann All

Hi Ann,

Thanks for the response. Two things:

(1) What's funny is that while you responded, I'm still not seeing my original comment

(2) When your husband finally makes it happen, please share on YouTube, and I'll write a blog post about it.

Jul 29, 2010 6:05 PM Maria Ogneva Maria Ogneva  says:

Thanks, Ann, for the shoutout! As you point out above, I agree that this campaign is in no way Social CRM. However, does it really need to be? A fun, creative awareness increasing campaign is just fine! And much better than just TV ads alone would've been!

- Maria


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