Why The "Old Spice Guy" Might Be The Perfect Branding Campaign

You might have seen a randomly bare chested and very good looking guy doing a bunch of short videos that look suspiciously like a funny commercial that has been on TV for months for Old Spice. Starting from a series of ads, over the last 48 hours the advertising team for Old Spice has created more than 200 short ads which are essentially video responses from the actor in the ads to comments and questions posted on Twitter. The real time nature of these videos has become huge online, driving millions of views of essentially what are branded ads and spreading the creative of the TV spots to a much wider audience online.

It is a good idea and the creative is funny, but there are several things that make this campaign stand out as a way to refresh the tired and sagging Old Spice brand. They come down to the basics of good marketing – from strategy to creative, but most importantly, the level of integration between television, online and social media in this campaign stands out. Unlike many other consumer goods campaigns that fall short when it comes to everyone collaborating, this is one of those few campaigns that seems like it was actually approached holistically by one team that didn't just chase the trend of the month, but used the platforms of TV, Twitter and YouTube primarily in the ways they were best suited. Here's a short summary with some key marketing lessons I will be taking away from this effort:

  • Smart Strategy – The marketing strategy behind this campaign is simple – show a great looking guy and tell women that he is "the man their man could smell like." Everyone knows that when it comes to bath products for guys, a huge purchaser is likely women – so instead of turning women into sex objects as Axe does to reach the single guys, Old Spice set their target as including and even speaking directly to women.
  • Creative Execution – The creative execution of the "Old Spice Man" using actor Isaiah Mustafa has been a hit, from his funny rapid paced TV spots and offered an instantly memorable pitch for Old Spice that people remembered and even mimicked. The campaign started with a strong creative execution that spoke directly to mostly women and while many men didn't quite "get" the commercial initially, it was all many women could talk about.
  • Cross Media Integration – Moving from a TV spot, the team at W&K behind this integrated social media in a way that is often lacking. Even with brands that have significant followings through one type of social media (such as Champion with over 100,000 Facebook fans and a great current campaign all around sportsmanship) are falling flat when it comes to translating that audience to a different platform and type of conversation (their Twitter page has only 45 members). For Old Spice, they are responding to tweets directly through videos, letting people create their own versions of the ad, engaging on Facebook and it is all paying off. As of the time of writing this post, their YouTube channel has nearly 7 million views, nearly 600,000 fans on Facebook and more than 70,000 followers on Twitter.
  • Personal Investment – This is a relatively intangible piece, but the advertising agency team behind this is clearly personally invested in the campaign. They love it, and are actively sharing their excitement about it. On the Interactive Creative Director Ian Tait's blog are photos of the line of employees waiting to meet the Old Spice Man and also a personal response to a negative tweet someone shared and more details about the team behind the campaign. While most consumers won't see this dialogue or probably even care, I happen to know as a fellow agency guy that when the team working on a project loves it – it comes through in the campaign.

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