Old Spice – New Flame

For a brand that started out in the year 1937 as a fragrance for woman Old Spice  has certainly come a long way. For Procter and Gamble, a company known for it’s classic (read as formulaic) approach to advertising since the 1950’s that included x times of product mentions/product shots followed by media bombardment to drive a message, it too has come a long way.  Although the relationship between P&G and Old Spice is relatively recent – dates back to 1990 when Old Spice was acquired from the Shulton Company who originally created the brand, the last three days are anything but formulaic, dated or conventional.  In fact, Old Spice has sowed the seeds of something remarkable that defines the new communications paradigm for brands in the 21st century.

I think it is a brilliant case study on “how to build brands using social media”. We have seen a surge of branded activity in social media off late. The ingredients are the same – a large chunk of Facebook mixed add a spoonful of Twitter with a dash of YouTube. But as we say, a great idea is one that combines commonly known elements to create something new and unexpected. This is what has been done with Old Spice. The character from the TV Commercial – Isaiah Mustafa responds to individual comments made in social media through a video and he does so persistently over three days with a total of nearly 200 video responses.

Brands engaging people on social networks is not something entirely new. If you are on Facebook you get engaged on Facebook, your tweets get @ replies on Twitter and so on. The power behind the Old Spice campaign was the video response. This was the creative leap taken by W+K.  The character that personifies the brand talks back to you in the form of a video. He would pick up your tweet, your status update on Facebook, a comment on YouTube or anywhere else on the web and talk back to you!  This was the big idea!

To do justice to the idea, the execution was nothing short of being flawless. Isaiah Mustafa, the Old Spice guy, acted out his role brilliantly. It was a mix of bold performances, combined with wit and humor. The best part of it all was the branding – subtle yet obvious.  Besides what Isaiah did for Old Spice he did a lot for himself – from being an unknown actor to overnight celebrity (he apparently inked a deal with NBC that would land him in one of their upcoming sitcoms).

From the film that kicked off the campaign (it won the Film Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions 2010 last month) to the film that started this 3-day social media frenzy, along with a couple of my favorite video response by the Old Spice guy, all have been linked below for your viewing pleasure! Enjoy.

Old Spice -Questions

Old Spice – Responses – Re: chmown | Old Spice

Old Spice – Responses – Re: @knitmeapony| Old Spice

Old Spice – Responses – Re: rahnyc4 | Old Spice

Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (The one that won the Film Grand Prix)

The entire series can be found here.

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