Tag Archives: Old Spice

How Complementary Marketing Can Empower Your Brand

How Old Spice Harnessed the Power of Complementary Marketing (And What It Means for Your Brand)

It’s easy to feel lost in the complex, brave new world of online marketing, where tweets or search engine results can be as crucial to your success as more traditional media. But never fear—the new school isn’t completely detached from the marketing you already know and love.

In fact, using your digital marketing resources to complement old school approaches can result in huge online successes. By looking closely at Old Spice’s recent and widely-praised major marketing campaign, let’s explore how complementary marketing helps brands navigate advertising in the modern world—and how you can do it, too.

What is complementary marketing?

Simply put, complementary marketing is what you get when the many arms of your marketing and branding work together in harmony. Whether your brand awareness comes from an email list or a broad social media campaign, you’ll be more successful when each component complements and feeds off of every other component. Complementary marketing means taking a look at each part of your marketing and making sure it’s aiming at a common identity.

How is Old Spice using complementary marketing to drive visibility and awareness?

Old Spice recently launched a marketing campaign to introduce their “Fresher” collection of nature-themed scents; each stick of deodorant or bottle of body wash comes packaged with a name like “Coconut” or “Roar.”

To usher in these new and novel scents, they released a series of video advertisements in which muscular men grapple with the complexities of nature while smelling fresh and clean. Armed with their brand’s distinctively edgy sense of humor, the videos poke fun at more traditional ads that evoke ideas of manliness, scientific breakthroughs, or nature to position a product as revolutionary.

These ad spots are hilarious and effective in their own right, but Old Spice’s team didn’t stop there. In addition to the videos, they’ve hijacked the #naturefacts hashtag by composing their own absurd, snarky “facts” about animals that call back to their line of scents. They’ve even rolled out a first-of-its-kind vending machine in New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The machine accepts only items from nature, and true to the Old Spice brand, it deposits bizarrely humorous items in return — for example, visitors can exchange ocean water for “all the wadded up cash in a rich guy’s pocket.”

It’s funny—but more importantly, it’s effective. Every piece of Old Spice’s marketing is working toward the same goal of promoting their transition to “nature” themed products; their multifaceted campaign is a perfect example of complementary marketing at work.

How can complementary marketing help your brand?

As we all know well, it’s easy for marketing campaigns to get messy. Sometimes the parts aren’t working in sync. Other times, the overall concept misses its mark, and the brand falls on its face as a result. But no matter your approach, your campaigns will stick in the minds of your target audience best if your various approaches are aligned.

You may look to SEO, social media, print materials, even television ads — but don’t forget to make sure that each of these are bolstering one another. When it comes to marketing, a cohesive whole is always better than the sum of many disparate parts.

On the surface, complementary marketing may seem like just another concept to wrestle with. But fret not: when the elements of your marketing are built to complement one another, you’ll find your message only becomes clearer and more powerful.


The Man’s Man Commercial: A Rip-Off of Old Spice, Dos Equis, and More!

I oppose ranting on blogs. It’s trivial. It’s useless. Everyone does it, and no one really gives a damn what your opinion is—unless, of course, you’re someone who actually matters. I do not matter, and therefore the following blatantly disregards my previous statement. What does matter, however, is the possibility that I make a good point. And that as you carry on through whatever world you live in, you hopefully take a step back every now and again and think more critically about the ads you see. Here it goes:


For heaven’s sake, if you’re an ad agency, pay attention to the ads around you. And when I say pay attention, I don’t mean pay attention enough to steal an idea and make it your own. I mean recognize a good idea, appreciate it, and then come up with something original.  A great ad:

Everyone’s well aware of the successes of the Old Spice campaign. Wieden+Kennedy continues to blow us away with great ideas. What it didn’t know, however, was that it was pushing the door wide open to what I’ll call “Man’s Man” ideas. But it wasn’t the first.

Dos Equis came out with “The Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign in 2006—four years before the Old Spice guy. This campaign has some of the best writing I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if there’s anything cleverer on TV right now.

Was the Dos Equis campaign the first to use the “Man’s Man” idea? Of course not. But I’d argue these two campaigns have led the way to a plethora of repeats. It’s true that ideas have 10- to 20-year life cycles. These two spots, however, created a voice and a tone. Being able to do a million things while still keeping his composure is what makes a man a man, it seems. These spots opened the floodgates. And now, I can’t stand to watch people recycle them over and over.

Old Spice Man’s Man Rip-Off, Exhibit A

Old Spice Man’s Man Rip-Off, Exhibit B (Can’t seem to find the original. Sorry!)

Dos Equis Man’s Man Rip-Off, Exhibit C

There are obviously so many more. And I recognize there are ads that preceded Dos Equis that are similar in nature (think Burger King’s “Scent of Seduction” ad and all the rip-offs that followed that). But do people not notice this? Have you noticed it? What’s your opinion?

I leave you with a parallel from Hollywood. If you’re going to be a screenwriter, let’s try to write a film that isn’t a complete rip-off of the story you just wrote.

The Curious Case of Forest Gump

Author: Eric Swenson