P&G’s Old Spice to open first barbershop, doubling as content studio

Dive Brief:

  • Old Spice, the men’s grooming brand marketed by Procter & Gamble, next month will open its first barbershop that will also serve as a digital content studio, retail store and test lab to help develop new products. The Old Spice barbershop will open on March 1 in Columbus, Ohio, per an announcement emailed to Marketing Dive.
  • The Old Spice barbershop has a fully functioning studio to produce digital and social media content in real time, and will be filled with the brand’s products. Its celebrity barber residency program will invite stylists with clients such as actors, athletes and musicians to create content, provide tutorials on men’s grooming and host other interactive customer experiences.
  • The store will feature Easter eggs inspired by the brand, including 3D models that show various haircuts and styles that customers can request. Those who enter the Old Spice barbershop will be greeted at a reception desk made from a wooden boat that was chopped in half, referencing a boat in the brand’s advertisements.

Dive Insight:

P&G’s plan to open a barbershop inspired by Old Spice is a way to directly engage consumers with the men’s grooming brand, while also marking a return of experiential marketing efforts that had been suspended during the pandemic’s earlier days. Many barbershops closed temporarily last year amid concerns about the transmission of COVID-19, and stay-at-home orders led to lower demand for grooming products. Old Spice is now reversing course with the opening of a brick-and-mortar location that doubles as a content production studio to extend the experiential effort to digital platforms including social media.

By enlisting celebrity barbers and their clientele to participate in the activation, Old Spice can create original, brand-safe content that entertains viewers. It’s the latest step in positioning Old Spice as a helpful brand that can instill personal confidence, especially among younger men. That theme is central to Old Spice’s recently launched “Smell Ready for Anything” campaign aimed at inspiring people to break out of their pandemic-related funk in a humorous way, consistent with the off-beat tone of its previous creative campaigns.

The opening of an Old Spice barbershop comes as parent company Procter & Gamble embraces a strategy of “constructive disruption” — a willingness to quickly switch strategies to meet quickly changing consumer demands. As outlined by Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard, the strategy includes a greater emphasis on innovation and bringing products to market faster. Pritchard in the past few years has tasked his brand marketing teams with cultivating a startup mentality, an effort that included the launch of an internal program called Growth Works, The Drum reported. The Old Spice barbershop can help with product development by promoting social discussions that are a key source of real-time feedback from consumers.

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