If you haven’t already watched the commercial below, you’re about to see what is already being described as one of the best brand re-launches of all time.
It deservedly won the Film grand prix at the Cannes Lions and is now being praised, far and wide, for the way its creators Wieden + Kennedy have extended the reach of the campaign to embrace social media.
Old Spice – The Man You Could Smell Like
The story begins much as you expect: an established brand has a fading image associated with an older generation, and wants to revitalise itself for a younger market. It hires a marketing company to create a brilliant TV ad, which it also uploads to YouTube. The ad itself is very cleverly produced and attracts a lot of attention when people email their friends about it.
So far, this story is hardly what you’d call remarkable (i.e. worth making ‘remarks’ about).
However, the extension of the campaign into Twitter-land certainly is.
Old Spice meets Twitter
In the not-too-distant past, if you, as a member of the global public, wanted to tweet a question to the ad’s star, Isaiah Mustafa, via @OldSpice, there was a reasonable chance that the actor and former NFL athlete would respond to your question with a video:
From the functional… (Does too much use cause rashes?)
Over-use could result in “the love slash romance part of her brain being vaporised by your handsome”. Classic!
To the political… (How can the White House get female voters back?)
President Obama should only ever be seen in a towel. Strategic.
To celebrity responses… (Guy Kawaski, Paris Hilton, Ellen, GQ)
Although, we suspect Mustafa might be confusing the business commentator with a motorcycle.
Fictional characters in social media
This is not the first time that a fictional (or exaggerated) brand ambassador has made the leap into social media. But in most cases, the character has been created by fans and not the marketers.
I remember when Twitter first emerged, Darth Vadar attracted a mass following, as did Mad Men’s Don Draper. Now, apparently, ANZ’s ‘Barbara from bank land’ has been offering her own unique style of banking advice on Twitter.
However, this is one of the few times that the effort was deliberately coordinated by the brand makers as an extension of the campaign.
Tim Burrowes of marketing and media news site Mumbrella was among the first Australian observers to write about the social media aspects of the Old Spice ad.
In one 24 hours period, he counted 116 new Old Spice videos. Every one in response to a Tweet. In his words: “Wieden + Kennedy must have an army of copywriters working on this.”
Old Spice’s dedicated YouTube channel has already exceeded 55 million viewers, making it the most viewed corporate YouTube channel of all time.
Now, that’s remarkable!
Farewell Isaiah Mustafa… for now
Yet, all good things must come to an end. In this clip, Mustafa says farewell to his many fans.
However, we suspect that this will not be the last we see of the Old Spice Casanova. If there is one thing we can feel certain about in the marketing world, it’s the apparent inability of brand managers to let a good idea run its course, without over-milking it.
Until next time, just remember… he’s on a horse.