Follow up to “the Old Spice effect”

Way back in Feb/Mar of this year I posted here on the blog about a video I anticipated would go viral on youtube. It was the very first of a series of Old Spice ads featuring Isaiah Mustafa as the Old Spice guy that caused a sensation last week when Old Spice kicked off an exciting social media campaign creating custom videos for people posting questions to then on several social media channels. I posted the below article on the Social Penguin blog last week right in the middle of the campaign, this is the article again with some extra commentary on the stories that came after, you should definitely check out the original post for all the great comments people made.

July 13th shall hence forth be renamed Old Spice Day, there isn’t a nationally recognised holiday that day and obviously they saw an opening. Yesterday Old Spice kicked off on what may be one of the finest social media campaigns in recent times, all off the back of a series of TV spots that went viral on Youtube.

Back in February Old Spice launched “The Man your Man could smell like” TV spot in USA that has thus far racked up over 12 million views. Several other ads have followed and have reached the meme stage of an internet viral being compared to the Chuck Norris jokes of old. The ads, masterminded by Portland based creative agency Wieden and Kennedy and featuring former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa, were a breath of fresh air to the brand which suffered with being associated with a much older audience and sought to show us all of the amazing things an Old Spice man is capable of. (Like swan diving off a waterfall, see below.)

On July 13th Old Spice became a promoted tweet on Twitter to encourage followers to tweet a question to the Old Spice guy who would reply with a personalised video on Youtube. These responses have had some varied in content (though all feature Isaiah Mustafa in a towel in a bathroom) from flirty videos to Alyssa Milano to marriage proposals. It is a fantastic idea which has got a lot of people clamouring for a video (myself included) though they seemed to have stopped at 140 videos on Youtube which may answer the question of how they will keep it going in the long term. (Co-incidence or something more powerful?)

The ads recently won the Cannes Lions Grand Prix and Isaiah Mustafa has been nomintated for an Emmy for his performance proving it is award winning work. But whilst it’s winning awards for traditional media do you think it’s an award winning social media campaign? Can we hold this up and say this is what it means to get social media right?

*follow up*

Last Friday as Old Spice brought their campaign to a close Mashable posted this article on the stats behind the videos so far. It’s impressive to see that as far as viral videos go Old Spice is up there with the big guns, outstripping even President Obama’s victory speech. There were also some blogs reporting the last weekend that the sales for Old Spice were actually down since the campaign but were unable to actually cite a source for the numbers. Apparently the sale figures for a month prior to the social media campaign showed a drop in sales of 7%, hence the game of Chinese whispers. We’re obviously going to have to wait a little while longer before we see numbers attached to the efforts of this campaign and its actually ROI. Regardless Old Spice as changed a lot of perceptions about their brand and has now set the bar for social media campaigns for the rest of us to clear in the future.

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