Spicing up viral marketing with Old Spice

This Old Spice campaign is going to be dissected by social marketing students for years to come. It is almost perfectly executed (I can’t actually think of a flaw yet).

It all started with this critically successful commercial launched during this year’s Superbowl. A commercial which has now had more than 13 million views on YouTube.

It’s a one shot shoot, here’s the explanation of the process:

Here’s the accompanying 15 second ad.

Then there was an equally well executed follow up (with 7 million views).

That was apparently also shot in one take. Isaiah Mustafa, the actor (an ex NFL player) explains…

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This was the point at which the Old Spice campaign went from well executed and hilarious commercial to social media phenomenon. They organised an online campaign where the Old Spice Guy responded, in video, to interactions from around the internet. Here he responds to popular tech blog Gizmodo:

Here he helps someone propose to his girlfriend:

Here he, as Old Spice Guy, responds to himself, Isaiah Mustafa…

Here’s a great article unpacking the process of responding in real time (it’s obviously a massive, and very impressive, task).

“In the room there are two social media guys and a tech guy who built a system pulling in comments from around the web all together in real time… We’re looking at who’s written those comments, what their influence is and what comments have the most potential for helping us create new content. The social media guys and script writers are collaborating to make that call in real time. We have people shooting and we’re editing it as it happens. Then the social media guys are looking at how to get that back out around the web…in real time.”

Here’s his sign off from a day of answering the audience:

It’s a campaign where everybody wins. Old Spice, the Creative company Wieden + Kennedy, the writers, Craig Allmen and Eric Kallman, the director and production company, and finally the actor himself.

Successful viral campaigns strike the right balance of humour, production quality, strategy, and level of interaction with the audience. If they’re pitched right they become juggernauts – like this one has – inspiring users to generate their own content. This is the Holy Grail of viral marketing. Getting people past talking about your product and into participating in your conversation.

Here’s an almost equally well produced parody.

This campaign, coupled with Tourism Queensland’s “Best Job in the World” campaign from last year, will set the bar for thinking about integrating marketing campaigns across traditional and new media. It’s an amazingly well executed feat. To close, here’s an analysis of where advertising might go from this point, complete with a nice little quote about the social medium:

“Start here: as it became apparent that this wasn’t just a one-time media drop, but instead an ongoing live performance—a spectacle in progress—I was reminded of some thing that I heard Rex Sorgatz say years ago. I’ll paraphrase, broadly: blogs are actually more related to live theatre than they are to, say, newspapers. The things that make a blog good are almost exactly the things that make a live performance good—and the most important, the magic cata­lyst, is the interplay with the audience.”


[…] in the year. If you’ve been paying attention to the buzz around social media this week (st eutychus, Gavin Heaton, and mumbrella part one and mumbrella part two), you will have noticed that Old Spice […]