Old Spice Changes the Game

14 Jul

By now you’ve probably seen the @OldSpice campaign that has taken the Internet by storm and put advertisers on notice.  From Yahoo! Answers to Reddit to Facebook, Old Spice is reaching their target group by engaging in a new way.  This is potentially game-changing for many reasons, let’s look at a few below:

1.  Videos are shot in one or two takes and released the same day because you have to keep up with a real-time stream. Old Spice released one or two clips every hour – pretty impressive when you consider the production values.  If you’re organized to do it, you can react quickly to take advantage of changes in the external environment.  Can you imagine if Axe had been able to mobilize a response, in real-time, to the Old Spice man?

2.  Clients will have to give up some control.  Putting something online requires a willingness to let it evolve and change.  You simply don’t have time to go through the bureaucratic chain to approve every little detail.  Agencies and their clients need to put their brand in capable hands and trust them to do amazing things.

3.  Targeting influentials, as a stand-alone strategy, isn’t enough.  Influentials can get you started but the real gems of the Old Spice campaign came from the contributions of regular people.  Did you know that one couple is now engaged as a result of Old Spice?  Respond to your customers.  Give them a memorable experience that can be shared for years to come.

Imagine an introspective Don Draper, reminiscing about his childhood in a smoke filled room while sipping a bourbon.  Or the Geico lizard fielding questions about (insert bizarre topic from left field).  What if the characters of Toy Story had appeared on a Youtube talkshow prior to the movie’s release?  The Woot monkey running tech support for a day?  That annoying Fountain Tire guy on a cross-country roadtrip, talking to real customers.  It doesn’t even require a full-day assault.  A seemingly out-of-the-blue video response to a well thought out forum post from the GM of the Calgary Flames would certainly get people talking.  Campaigns that surprise and delight customers are a surefire way to build brand equity.

Other creatives are going to respond to OldSpice.  Their clients will demand it.  In the next few months I expect we’ll see a few copycats but also marketers that took the idea and made it their own –  in a way that fits their strategy.  I eagerly await the latter.

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