Case Detail

Case Summary

Old Spice: Repeating Success in the Face of Competitive Threat

Case Number: 5-313-508, Year Published: 2014

HBS Number: KEL786

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Authors: Derek D Rucker; Mauricio O'Connell

Key Concepts

Advertising, Branding


In 2009–2010 Procter & Gamble's Old Spice brand had to respond to two important challenges. First, after a successful rebranding of the Glacial Falls scent into Swagger (see Kellogg Case #5-411-752), Old Spice's core brand team had to determine its next step in advertising. The options being considered included continuing to advertise Swagger, switching to advertising a different scent, advertising the umbrella brand, or placing an emphasis on body wash instead of on deodorant. This decision also involved proposing both the messaging and the media buy for the option selected. Second, in conjunction with this issue, the brand team had to decide whether the messaging of its advertising should respond to competitor Unilever's new advertising for Dove for Men, which would be kicked off in an upcoming Super Bowl spot. Students will step into the shoes of Mauricio O'Connell—one of the assistant brand managers of Old Spice—as he and his team brainstorm how to position the brand for another big success.

Learning Objectives

After reading, analyzing, and discussing the case, students should be able to:

  • Ask critical questions to help decide among multiple advertising strategies
  • Describe issues for a brand that relate to managing advertising across its portfolio
  • Understand how competitive behavior can affect a brand’s decision

Number of Pages: 10

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Marketing

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: United States

Industry: Personal Care Products

Organization Name: Old Spice

Organization Department: Brand Team

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Position: Assistant Brand Manager

Decision Maker Gender: Male

Year of Case: 2011