Old Spice is always happy to play for laughs, but its latest campaign is hoping people will sing along, too.
The first of two musical-inspired ad spots is called “Soliloquy” and follows our young hero on a set that looks like a cross between "Sesame Street" and Linn-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights.” Alas, the hero did not use Old Spice. And, of course, he smells.
“People will tell you if your hair is a mess or if you have something in your teeth,” says Matt Krehbiel, vice president of Old Spice. “But they won’t tell you when you smell.”
The idea behind this effort is to play with that idea in a way that’s “both fantastical and realistic,” he tells Marketing Daily. “It is this notion of being in the spotlight and wondering whether you smell, and then that magical transformation that Old Spice can bring.”
Once our hero, played by Manuel ("Terminator: Dark Fate," "Ride") Pacific, meets Old Spice, “the world transforms into something like an off-Broadway play. You’re under pressure, but you know you smell amazing,” Krehbiel says.
The campaign stems from the insight that men are inherently more worried about body odor than women, showering twice as often and applying deodorant 30% more frequently.
A closer look at the ad, created by Wieden + Kennedy, reveals that one of the backup dancers isn’t quite human -- but is instead a big red bottle of Old Spice.
And that guy, not our dancing hero, turns out to be the link to the Super Bowl. Named Swaggy Spice, the new mascot will help raise awareness that it’s stifling in those football mascot costumes.
“Mascots can lose up to 10 pounds per game,” Krehbiel says. “I’ve been in one [of those costumes] -- it’s hot.”
So Old Spice is “pressure-testing” the product on Swaggy at the Super Bowl. The mascot is handing out samples, posing for fan photo ops and enjoying plenty of red-carpet moments in Phoenix as the Big Game approaches.
“Mascots are a fun, integral part of sports,” Krehbiel says. “And as the official locker room partner of the NFL, we have a close bond with the game–but also a good sense of humor.”
While Old Spice isn’t advertising during the game itself, the ad is airing on national television, YouTube, Vevo, TikTok and Reddit. (A second musical, "Tango," is scheduled to break later this spring.)
And with Swaggy’s presence in Phoenix, it’s hoping to capture those “talkable moments and become part of the conversation.”
Swaggy will attend many marquee events “and will be cheering like all the rest of us, but not sweating -- no matter what team wins.”