Thursday, July 29, 2010

Old Spice Campaign - Viral Success Or Failure?

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Just about everyone has heard about the Old Spice videos that became wildly popular on the Internet recently. If you haven’t, let me bring you up to speed.

Old Spice launched the advertising campaign called, “Smell like a man, man,” which included TV ads and Youtube videos that some are calling the most successful viral campaign ever. Coupling the videos with a Twitter account and persona, actor and ex football player, Isaiah Mustafa starred as the Old Spice man who amazed viewers with his smooth voice and clever retorts. The spot was a hit, drawing more than 13 million views on YouTube according to a article.

To continue promotion of the ads, a team of writers and editors searched Twitter for responses to the Old Spice Man Twitter account. Later they filmed personalized video responses to Tweets including ones to celebrities and political figures. About 185 response videos were posted for the Old Spice guy, which furthered the sensation. One unusual request asked for the Old Spice man to propose to Twitter user Johannes S. Beals’ girlfriend. Shortly after the request was made, a video starring the Old Spice man was created. The happy ending was complete when Beals followed up with a tweet, “She said yes!”

Old Spice hit the mark with a funny, unique and dynamic ad campaign. They successfully reached out to consumers and built relationships with their audience, but here’s the real kicker- they listened and responded.

Always room for improvement

There were, however, critics Old Spice’s campaign; namely those who pointed to sales reports that indicated that sales were down seven percent. According to an article on though, sales reports came out before the campaign hit its peak success.

I believe the real downfall, if any, of the campaign was that it came to an end. The Old Spice man tweeted, “Well friends, like all great things this too must end.” This is the first rule of getting started on social media, if you commit you need to continue. I don’t know how many times I have followed a brand and was genuinely excited to communicate, only to find that a few months later the account has gone stagnant. Last year Skittles temporarily turned their homepage into a stream of real-time comments from customers who referenced Skittles, only to abandon the revolutionary campaign as quickly as it started. Whether it is a Facebook page, a Twitter account or blog, the important thing is not only to get started but to continue producing quality content and building relationships.

I did hear rumors that Old Spice has another campaign in the works. I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

(photo credit:


Jeremy said...

Well, I'm not sure everyone has heard about it. I'll ask my Mom tonight if she knew about the YouTube campaign.

Kate Bernard said...

Amanda, Just saw this and thought of your blog post.

Old Spice Sales Double With YouTube Campaign:

laurent said...

You're right about the end being a problem. Social media calls for sustainable marketing rather then hyped stuff. Because let's be honest, Old Spice got hyped up so much beyond my belief. Whats new in the product? In the message? What's social in that brand? Nothing really ;-(. The hype will go down as fast as it went up and so will the sales.

Amanda W. said...

@Jeremy, Did your Mom hear about it? Maybe not, but I bet she may remember it from back in the day though!
@Katie, Thanks!
@Laurent, Completely agree! Thanks for your comment.