MARK217: Attitude Change- Old Spice

This week’s topic looked at the concept of ‘consumer attitudes’ and the numerous theories and models which work to form an understanding of how they are developed and possible strategies to change them. So, what are attitudes? Attitudes are:“a learned predisposition to behave in a consistently favourable or unfavourable way with respect to a given object” (Algie 2014). The word ‘object’ in this definition refers to “product, product category, brand, service possession, product use, causes or issues, people, advertisement, internet site, price, medium or retailer” (Schiffman et al 2014, p. 246). Attitudes are learned through direct experience, word-of-mouth and exposure to mass media advertisements via indirect or direct marketing (Algie 2014). Additionally, attitudes are generally consistent with the behaviour they reflect however certain situations may cause consumers to act in ways that are inconsistent with their attitudes (Algie, 2014). In a business context, it is important for companies to be aware of the consumer attitudes that exist regarding their brand and products.

A memorable example of a company that has acknowledged the need to change consumer attitudes regarding its products and has successfully done so through marketing is Old Spice. Old Spice is a men’s deodorant brand, owned by Proctor and Gamble (P&G) since 1990 but that has been on the market since 1938 (O’Neill 2010). In 2002, the company introduced a new product category to its brand, body wash. However, Old Spice began to be edged out of the market when faced with successful competition, namely the deodorant and body wash brand ‘Axe’ (MediaMeasurement 2011) and new entrant to the market, Nivea (Effie Awards 2011). Due to the age of the brand, it was found that younger male consumers believed the product was out-dated and was associated with older generations (O’Neill, 2010). In 2010, Old Spice launched a campaign that aimed to change these attitudes and face increased competition.  The campaign was in the form of numerous advertisements ‘the man your man could smell like’. These advertisements aimed to target both men and women (as research found up to 60% of men’s body wash is purchased by women) and to position Old Spice as a “manly” product as opposed to its “lady-scented” competitors (Effie Awards 2011). Below is the most well-known advertisement:

The campaign was first launched on Facebook and YouTube during the 2010 Super Bowl to compete with Nivea who were also planning to gain media attention at this time. The video soon went viral and in early June, consumers were asked to continue the conversation by submitting questions via Twitter and Facebook to be answered personally by the Old Spice Guy (P&G no date).

This campaign successfully transformed existing attitudes towards Old Spice branded products. It saw an increase in the sales of the product, brand awareness and worked to reinvent the brand in the eyes of its consumers (MediaMeasurement 2011).

Algie, J 2014, ‘Week 8: Consumer Attitudes’, MARK217, lecture, University of Wollongong, viewed 1 May 2014

Effie Awards 2011, ‘2011 Gold Effie Winner:“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”’, Effie Awards, NY

MediaMeasurement 2011, ‘Old Spice demonstrates just what it takes to launch a successful social media campaign’, MediaMeasurement, viewed 6 May,

O’Neill, M 2010, ‘How Old Spice Swaggerized Their Brand and Men Everywhere’, SocialTimes, 22 July, viewed 6 May,

P&G no date, ‘Latest Innovations: Old Spice’, P&G, viewed 6 May,

Schiffman, L, O’Cass, A, Paladino, A & Carlson, J 2014, Consumer Behaviour, 6th edn, Pearson Australia, Frenchs Forest, Australia


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