Saturday, March 6, 2010

why i'm on a horse isn't where's the beef

Since the Old Spice commercial launched on the Superbowl, "I'm on a horse" has entered pop lexicon. It's been a frequent retweet on twitter where the guy on the horse, of course, has his own account. It's engendered countless blog posts and news nods and chatter on Facebook and even interviews with its creators from Wieden and Kennedy who explain how the spot was a accomplished in a single, incredible shot. (57 takes)

Ad phrases that become catch phrases are nothing new, but what is new is that the commercials that spawn them are now the beginning, not the end of consumer engagement. When media flights for "spicy meatball" and "where's the beef?" ended, so did consumer involvement with content. But now the impact of brand messaging only begins with traditional ad buys, if content is compelling enough to inspire people to share it. The Old Spice spot has already exceeded 7 million views on youtube, numbers achieved because the spot went to social networks in conjunction with (not instead of) conventional buy on TV. (When Google gamed the value of running TV, its Superbowl spot which had been on youtube for weeks, jumped from a few thousand views to 4.4 million today.)

Evidence of even more successful engagement is when consumers not only share but repurpose content, inspired to spread the brand story themselves. As in this parody where Old Spice content is appropriated to spoof Apple. Why is appropriation good, some marketers may wonder, holding tight to their proprietary decks and brand bibles? Because consumers who not just share the story but participate in it, tend to be avid enthusiasts whose WOM messaging is likely to achieve far higher conversion rates.

According to Facebook, Old Spice "has been helping guys improve their mansmells for 71 years." Interestingly, the babe-baiting strategy behind "I'm on a horse" is the very same one executed in this spot from the 80s. One can only guess how creative impact might have been extended if social, um, tools had been in place.


howie at skypulsemedia said...

This is interesting stuff. The problem long standing brands have is they are long standing. This means if your not buying now, usually it is not because you haven't tried it. CPG's have it harder than food. For example I like snickers and have not had one in a long time. Mostly because I eat premium dark chocolate when I do that stuff. BUT a good ad might generate a desire to have one. Quick easy done. Good for 2 more years.

CPG's are harder because I might have a new deodorant stick that won't be done for 3 months. By then I will forget the guy on the horse. And if I have tried Old Spice and didn't like it, chances are I won't this time. Or maybe the price is too high and I need a coupon.

That all being said there was a $1 coupon in the Sunday paper and if they put it on sale at the market I might buy a stick. Which could wipe out their 1 unit profit for both the Market and Old Spice. And if I don't go WOW this is now my brand, in 3 months it will be who has a coupon, but not W+K's fault!

So really your focus is the 'never tired it and please try me' or I am now 16 and I see Dad using Deodorant which should I use. Damn I want to be that guy on the horse.

Anonymous said...

did they do the bow chika bow wow ads? I'm on a horse! lol

California Girl said...

Good post on extending the brand name and image. I have so much to learn! I did not see this commercial during the Super Bowl so was perhaps in the kitchen making chili LOL. And, I had not, personally, heard any buzz about it tho' I see why it's generating said talk. Plus, that guy is sooo damn hot.

Keep 'em coming.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

@howie Good points. I think most advertising is for those who never tried. BC even an ad this good can't sell a product twice if consumer doesn't like it the first time. I want to be the guy on the horse too :)

@Anonymous I believe those Axe spots were done by BBH, but I could be wrong. Anybody know for sure?

@California Girl we *all* have a lot to learn, it's a frontier out there. Funny, I didn't see the Old Spice spot on SB either. Must have walked out of the room for a sit on my horse ;)

California Girl said...

Just ran across a blurb in the HuffPost that Lindsay Lohan is suing E Trade for $100 mill claiming the "Milkaholic" Lindsay baby was modeled after her and seeking to stop further airings.

I really thought you'd like that.