Thursday, July 15, 2010
I guess Terry Crews is too busy with his sitcom to help extend the Old Spice custom video gig. I definitely would’ve wanted to see that. But Isaiah Mustafa had a good (but short) run here. (The automatic voicemail generator was a nice touch.) Look at your YouTube channel. Not look at theirs: Since it went up the Old Spice responses channel has 6.5 million views and 90,000 subscribers.* Not bad for almost a week’s work. While social mediocrity on Twitter is raving about this as the next case study in awesome—it is—lost in the noise is a bunch of magnificent bastards (as American Copywriter calls them), coupled with people brand side who decided to open things up a few years ago.
If you don’t have either, good luck trying to replicate the formula.
When Old Spice gave themselves a makeover, it gave brands permission to do the same. Some might say well, it’s in a category that appeals to college guys and teens, so it’s not out of character for them to push things this way. That’s bullshit.
Just remember that until a few years ago when Bruce Campbell kicked off this rebirth, Old Spice was Aqua Velva. It was Just For Men. It was every boring, safe brand in the category you can imagine. It also had the baggage of being your dad’s *cologne* as it entered that so-called guy bodywash category.
If brands see the background of this campaign and want some of the Old Spice magic? It has to start first with the willingness on their part to take the handcuffs off their agency. Okay, not everyone is Wieden, but many shops can come up with some cool stuff if brands would just let them.
The case study here is really about the marketing director who took the chance that so many fear. The unknown customer response that brands worry so much about when an agency shows something new is often unwarranted. Isn’t the insurance category now about as loose as it ever was, what with cavemen?
Even supposedly safe moves produce backlash. (Hello Tropicana.) Even campaigns for babies can release Mommy Blogger™ vitriol. (Is there anything safer than baby carriers? Geezus.) You’re telling me that Aqua Velva is so sacred, more sacred than baby products, that it couldn’t open up things? As an aside, if it tried that now it would just look desperate, the way McDonald’s might have had they tried to replicate the freak aspect of BK’s King. The tone just has to be different though and AV could actually bury the stodgy and come off more contemporary.)
Otherwise, brands who ignore what’s really behind Old Spice’s resurgence shouldn’t wonder why their viral slash commercial of dad pushing his kids on a swing only got 1,200 views.
*Numbers differ in Mashable’s post on the campaign numbers. I was a career C– student in math, but explain to me how 6.9 million views is derived from 6.5 as of today, or how 15,590 comments equals 22,000.
Posted 1:50 PM