Thursday, July 15, 2010

adland redeems itself with campaign you wish your campaign could smell like

For readers who aren't twitterholics like me, you may have missed the latest extension of the brilliant Old Spice campaign. I'm not talking about Man on Horse now swandiving off a waterfall, but about his masterful rocking of the social mediasphere. Sure, lots of brands use social media to engage with consumers, but Old Spice made major waves this week by delivering personalized messages to individual fans via youtube.

In a move that seems destined to reshape the way brands interact with consumers, W + K creatives (CD Jason Bagley, digital strategist Josh Millrod, interactive producer Ann-Marie Harbour) holed up in a studio with spokehunk Isaiah Mustafa, writing, recording, editing and producing video responses to tweets and comments in quick succession, posting almost 200 "commercials" in the course of 2 days. What makes the work genius isn't only the concept but executions: spot-on writing and Mustafah's flawless deliveries ensure the spots are entertainment even if they're not directed at you.

Some of the first videos were addressed to Twitter magillas including Ashton Kutcher, Biz Stone, Ellen Degeneres and George Stephaopolous-- Mustafah answers his question about how Obama can attract women voters.

But plenty of responses went out to non-celebs; one of the most memorable was to a tweeter who asked Mustafah to propose to his girlfriend.

Apparently, it worked. @JSBeal's twitter profile is now "Happily Engaged." Then, the campaign extended even to voicemail.

As of this writing, creative content on the Old Spice channel has elicited over 61 million uploads and almost 16,000 comments. (Recent response videos viewed over 11 million times, stats graphed by interested party here.) Will sm success translate into Old Spice sales? Yet to see. Just because it's digital doesn't mean it's direct response. As with any branding campaign, time is required to assess true impact. But I trust an effort that breaks through doldrums of summer to jazz so many consumers and press. (Although I agree with writer for UK Telegraph--sales numbers might be better if scent was a bit less, um, potent than its marketing.)

What most impresses me are two things:

1. Viral campaign wasn't "crowdsourced", but curated and crafted by those who knew not only how to elicit feedback from irascible internet audience, but how to ensure feedback was mostly positive (and civil)---not always the case when brands venture into social media. (Hi, Nestle!)

2. The campaign that is being hailed as groundbreaking use of digital was created by a traditional ad agency. Ironically, launch coincides with the revival of MadMen. Who says all Adland is Lost in last century?

Thanks, W+K for giving pundits on social media circuits something to deconstruct besides Subservient Chicken.

1 comment:

Eric L. Steckel said...

We hosted an SFAMA panel discussion on the Old Spice Phenomenon, with some fantastic takeaways. One of the most poignant- Old Spice, a staid CPG brand, managed to execute Real Time campaign that knocked the socks off of the competition- AXE. Sure, they out-spent AXE, but they also out-thought, and are realizing big rewards with brand engagement and, according to reports, sales. The big question will be if they can sustain that growth.

Check out our video overview:

Eric L. Steckel