David Ashton

We all remember the original Old Spice “Smell Like a Man” commercial with the male spokesperson stepping out of the shower wrapped in a towel, saying, “Ladies, look at your man. Now look at me. Now back at your man. Now back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me, but if he stopped using a lady’s body wash and switched to Old Spice, he could smell like me.”

It’s a funny commercial, but it’s also brilliant, and it contains critical lessons for all of your print, email, social media, and mobile marketing campaigns.

What made this campaign one of the most successful in history? It wasn’t just that it made us laugh. Old Spice had been researching its audience’s buying motivations for years. It knew that more than half of body wash is purchased by women, but their men were using it out of convenience. Men want to smell like men, not ladies, so the ad targeted women with the benefits of their man smelling like a man.

The ad was launched online and almost immediately re-established Old Spice’s brand dominance. It received 40 million views its first week of launch, became a worldwide phenomenon, and was later moved to television. Since then, the ad has attracted 52 million views and nearly 200,000 “likes” on YouTube.

These same highly effective emotional appeals can be made in a B2B environment, as well. What happens if you have a catastrophic server failure? What if there is a disruption in your supply chain during the peak selling season? What if your capital investment needs tech support on off hours and you have a critical project on the line?

When designing your next print or multichannel marketing campaign, try using an emotional hook. Ultimately, we’re all human, and it is people, not companies, that make purchasing decisions. Doing the legwork to determine what influences those decisions can go a long way toward crafting emotional connections that are not only memorable but that drive sales.


Linemark is a privately-owned and operated printing communications company headquartered within close proximity of the Washington DC / Baltimore Metro areas (Upper Marlboro, MD). Linemark is one of the fastest growing companies in the region within the communications industry. Operating 24 hours a day from a 90,000sq ft facility, the intensely customer focused company delivers solid and innovative solutions to their client base of associations, corporations and non-profit organizations.

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