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The Spicy Power of Social Media


The first time I saw the Old Spice commercial featuring a fine, half-naked black man with a deep voice, I thought, “Wow, this is not your father’s Old Spice.” I mean really, can you even remember the last Old Spice commercial before this one? The only thing I could recall about Old Spice was that annoying New England type whistle that followed all their commercials. But seriously, no man I knew wore Old Spice, not even my dad. It was a dead brand. Dead. Dead. Dead. Until YouTube.

Off Beat Isn’t New to Old Spice

Old Spice has been known for its funny, offbeat commercials. The last commercial before this new campaign featured Doogie Howser’s NPH, in a hilarious parody of his role as a genius young doctor. (For those of you not in the know NPH is Neil Patrick Harris practically the coolest living actor today.)

But these featuring Isaiah Mustafa took on a whole new level. The best part of the campaign were the personalized, customized commercials created on the fly in a studio in response to Twitter and Facebook comments. Just Brilliant! Most people scoffed at the campaign saying it was a great gimmick but it didn’t sell anything. WRONG!

Old Spice Becomes Top Dog

Digital Buzz Blog (a must subscribe if you are into social media) just released the Old Spice social media campaign case study from the creatives at Wienden+Kennedy advertising. The results of this campaign are staggering. Here they are from DBB:

* On day 1 the campaign received almost 6 million views
(that’s more than Obama’s victory speech)
* On day 2 old spice had 8 of the 11 most popular videos online
* On day 3 the campaign had reached over 20 million views
* After the first week old spice had over 40 million views
* The old spice twitter following increased 2700% (probably off a lowish base)
* Facebook fan interaction was up 800%
* Oldspice.com website traffic was up 300%
* The old spice YouTube channel became the all time most viewed channel (amazing)
* The campaign has generated 1.4 billion impressions since launching the ads 6 months ago
* The campaign increased sales by 27% over 6 months since launching (year on year)
* In the last 3 months sales were up 55%
* And in the last month sales were up 107% from the social responses campaign work
* Old spice is now the #1 body wash brand for men.

What You Can Learn from Old Spice
When was the last time your product received a 27% year over year sales increase? Yikes. This campaign spread around the world, quickly and with impact penetrating deep into the consumer marketing helping Old Spice surpass it’s toughest competition from the younger-oriented AXE and other male body products. Since it was successful be prepared to see an onslaught of copycats, unimaginative creative trying to replicate the success. Don’t fall into this trap. Don’t go hiring every buff black guy you see trying to get him to hock your funeral home services in a towel. Please, don’t go there. Instead look at the how of this campaign. Here’s what I think you can take away from Old Spice and adapt to your business.

1. Creative Content – You can’t ignore that the Old Spice commercials were hilarious. They were perfect for going viral because they were short, funny and just a bit off. They were entertaining. Don’t bore your customers with your pitch. Don’t make them cheesy but make your creative something that someone would share with someone else. A catchy song in the background. An attractive actor being features. A gorilla playing the drums to Phil Collins. Make your content memorable.

2. A well-coordinated campaign. Once OS had great content they displayed it in a Superbowl Ad. Then they put out various commercials on You Tube. They picked social media influencers like Guy Kawasaki and Ashton Kutcher as well as everyday Twitter folks and made personalized campaigns for them. This was a well thought out campaign that built upon a good foundation and created momentum in the market place. The lesson is they didn’t do their social media in a vacuum. They created a unified storyline that crossed all media. Many companies keep their social media separate from their Website, media buys etc., Don’t do this. The idea with social media is to get people “socializing” about your product. Sharing it with friends, family and strangers. Your customers are not just on social networks and neither should you be. Reinforce your brand and product in different media channels so that you can harness the power of leverage that social networks provide. (Plus it’s cheaper to get 14 million eyeballs on YouTube than on network television.)

3. Respond to Consumers. The one thing social media has done to change the marketing landscape is that it puts the consumer in the driver’s seat. No longer are you the one who is the sole author of your brand. Anyone with a Twitter account can tell their network what your brand is and it’s your job to make sure they’re talking correctly about you and your products. Which means you need to respond to what they say instead of ignoring them. Old Spice took their campaign up a notch by taking the reactions their campaign generated to generate more creative. They made personalized commercials online for people who commented on them through Twitter, Facebook etc., They picked social media celebs like Guy Kawasaki and Ashton Kutcher and made personalize commercials. They realized the secret of social media – it is a me-centered media outlet. They rewarded social media followers with these short commercials and guess what – generated even more recognition. So on your next social media campaign be cognizant of your audience. Don’t dictate to them, involve them. Respond to them. Enlist them. In the end they’re the reason you have a job.

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