@OldSpice Took Social Media Branding To A New Level

Those of us watching 2009’s Superbowl met Isaiah Mustafa, who would become @oldspice guy, first while he was riding a horse backwards and almost naked during the ad campaigns’ SuperBowl debut of what was sure to be a series of brand outreach commercials.  The only thing we knew for certain at that point was that this man was guaranteed to surface again – as is Super Bowl advertisement tradition for as far back as I, and possibly even you, can remember – a SuperBowl advertising campaign debut could only mean more storylines were almost guaranteed from the brands with pockets deep enough to spend that kind of cash on the coveted few second spots that were available and always intensely lusted and sought over by marketing managers and directors since the investion of SuperBowl TV ads.  Cue the eTrade babies and M&M self depreciating but enjoyable ads and the proof is as undeniable as how intrigued we all were with Folger’s story line advertorials of days past when we were all curious as to what the next sequence would unravel.

Mister Isaiah Mustafa has now been featured in almost every talk show and news/radio show in the US. ESPN, CBSNewsOnline, Ellen Degeneres,XM Sirius Radio and more have interviewed the man [fully clothed] with and without that accent, and he has refreshingly and gracefully demonstrated a level of humility, good humor and down to Earthness rarely seen when it comes to any duration of fame.  Watch his modest and down to Earth interviews and you’ll discover an entirely different guy from the @OldSpice guy persona that toes the line to being subtly obnoxious in a delivery of graceful good humor.  Isaiah, the former pro football player turned actor is funny, good natured and humbly grateful with a sincerity that makes me just want to wish him well in his career as an actor.  Only someone who has a secure sense of self and a level of graceful dignity can deliver such unoffensive performances of what can easily be over obnoxious ego all while walking on a plank and ending up on a horse seamlessly.  Kudos are definitely due.

What is undeniable is that @OldSpice was armed, ready and did execute what will be remembered as THE 2010 viral media campaign, unless some other company decides it will give Proctor & Gamble a run for its money.  The Wieden+Kennedy agency that orchestrated such a viral social media campaign of a level of response and engagement that was beyond any brand’s outreach – they took advantage of every open avenue that social media lends in brilliant execution beginning with a TV campaign, truly not just engaged but participated with the audience and sparked an entire personality and ad campaign of immense popularity.  (Pretty sure there will be some OldSpice guy costumes when Halloween rolls around.)

Incredible when we think about the amount of people this campaign will eventually reach before it becomes yesterday’s news or some case study to refer back upon, but the fruits of such a well thought campaign executed to a level of traction that many in house and contracted marketers and PR professionals would drool over, has yet to be confirmed to lift sales or provide any real ROI

and when those numbers come rolling in – I’m sure we’d all love to see if that helped to boost a brand that is seen at best as the “aftershave my dad and his dad wore.”  Since no one can accurately report on positive results in public as of yet, all things considered, at the very least this campaign can soundly be attributed to a solid branding effort on behalf of Old Spice who’s history of tongue in cheek attempts at appealing to younger generations has often missed the mark and rarely gained anything beyond a raised eyebrow as far back as this ad here from 2007.  While it’s true that branding means that the direct correlation between impressions and return on investment may questionably not be accountable in the long run – the success in this campaign’s ability to bring a brand that many of us haven’t heard from in quite some time back from its shelf and on the tips of everyone’s tongue in media today is and was a brand visibility success in and of itself that should not go uncelebrated.

Social marketing is still a new field.  The greatest winners of social media campaigns when it comes to money thus far seem to be charities with strong social media campaigns, strong brands and real world problems to solve that have truly used savvy and effective social media tactics to generate a level of visibility that might have previously been hard to obtain without thousands of dollars invested for every message.  The Red Cross had risen $158 million from its social media campaign to help Haiti in January of 2010 from the web and via text messages alone. Charity:Water raised over $250,000 in funds in just one night as the charity sponsor of the Twitter crowdsourced Testival events that were launched last year and continues to raise more money towards an amazing cause to bring clean water to third world countries of which an estimated 5,000 children die everyday of bad water.  Short of being able to truly target and engage with your audience like never before, social media is still a media that lends itself to lots of A/B testing just like every other online marketing vehicle.  One thing remains certain, when it comes to a successful social media campaign @OldSpice found the right spokesman to deliver a branding home run while “on a horse.”  Don’t believe me? The video below has been viewed over 15.5 million times on YouTube alone – and that’s just one of many @OldSpice videos that have since graced YouTube, starring Isaiah to @Alyssa_Milano to @trev4real. So while ROI success of the @OldSpice‘s social media campaign is still to be confirmed, in terms of branding and best use of social media – Old Spice has taken Social Marketing and viral campaigns to a whole new level to consider. Cheers to that!

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS
A friendly Twitter discussion just occurred with my friend @AntiFreeze, over branding in the case of @OldSpice possibly not being the outright successful branding campaign when it comes to sales that it could have been should it have also employed some direct marketing tactics. I am in agreement and do believe that the uplift in sales might have been much more accountable and could have pointed to at least a degree higher of directly attributable sales success should the campaign have also called for some sales to be driven via discount promotional codes or a call to action of some sort. (Since the figures are owned by Proctor & Gamble we may never know what the success was measured on or how the campaign truly performed unless they share the figures with us.)

So to be clear, this blog post is definitely a praise for the execution, creativity and strategies behind the deployment of a successful social marketing campaign when measured in terms of visibility, popularity and reach. Also of note is that there didn’t seem to be a specific product ever mentioned so when measured as a branding campaign akin to traditional media campaigns, the brand itself did get back on the top of our minds, however fleeting that may be. It was a brilliant campaign and we both share a hope that things pick up for Old Spice.

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  1. I was wondering myself to write something about the Old Spice campaign. It was an amazing stroke to bring it all together like they did in real time.

    I agree that in the very least we can consider it a success in receiving press coverage, but like most P.R. it needs to be quantifiable and it will be interesting to see if they can pull successful ROI numbers on this project.

    Even if the numbers don’t improve maybe this will help move the needle in changing their perception as the aftershave for you dad and grandpa. I guess someone needs to start polling if the public’s perception of Old Spice has changed. That would be interesting.

    I used Old Spice until my wife told me it was for old men and I changed recently. Maybe she won’t feel that way anymore? Time will tell like the new Brawny man.

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  3. An update from a story I came across. “According to Nielsen data provided by Old Spice, overall sales for Old Spice body-wash products are up 11 percent in the last 12 months; up 27 percent in the last six months; up 55 percent in the last three months”

    http://adweek.blogs.com/adfreak/2010/07/hey-old-spice-haters-sales-are-up-107.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Adfreak+%28adfreak%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

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