For Valentine's Day, Old Spice Goes Searching For Love

In an effort to rev up declines in its men’s grooming division, Procter & Gamble’s Old Spice is taking its spoof of fancy fragrances even further, with new Valentine’s Day ads introducing men to its Red Collection. 

In “Marco Love-O,” a stunning lady in red storms through a darkened palace, continually yelling “Old.” Her true love, dressed in a tuxedo, is also storming the castle, usually shouting “Spice.” “Mask” channels the same zany old-world opulence, as a woman tries to unmask our nifty-smelling hero.

Both are part of the “Make scents…for men” campaign, from Wieden+Kennedy, and follow the brand’s wonderfully goofy “Red Sweater” Grammy spot, which features a bevy of distraught French beauties on the trail of a lost bloodhound named Old Spice.



P&G is launching the Old Spice Red Collection, available in shampoos, antiperspirants, deodorants, body washes and spray, during a rough period for men’s grooming products. In its most recent quarterly results, released last month, the Cincinnati-based marketer says sales its men’s grooming segment, which also includes Gillette, fell 3%.

The sluggishness is industrywide, says Mintel. In its latest report on the men’s grooming category, it says sales of men’s personal care products hit $4.5 billion in 2017, up just 1.1% for the year, below the growth of the last four years. And even with many new products, such as niche facial hair products, “men may be relying more on physical health and wellness rather than personal care to achieve the healthy look they wish to portray,” it says.

Not only are men looking for a more laid-back look these days, they’re also interested in using fewer products, and Mintel notes a decline in the use of antiperspirants and deodorants, body cleansing products and any facial skincare. Its research finds that at this point, scent is the single biggest motivator for men, more than saving money or even the recommendation of their spouse or partner. 

P&G looks to be pursuing men through the schnozz and is offering the Red Collection in two scents. Captain: The Scent of Command, has water, citrus and green notes. Nomad: The Scent of Adventure is based on classic fougere (that’s “fern” to fragrance neophytes), citrus and watery fruits.

Old Spice is also looking to win over men through gaming, creating an unofficial class with Dungeons & Dragons, called the Old Spice Gentlemen Class. Besides offering to heal allies “with their pleasing scent,” reports the Nerdist, they get to hurt their enemies with insults. And as they level up, they can instantly summon horses, and “players can even turn into an intelligent dog.”

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