About the Series: The series, “From Across the Borders” is designed to bring out some of the most remarkable international campaigns, with an objective to give the reader a better understanding of the differences in advertising styles of India and other countries, highlighting how the stage of development of the society and economy might affect the communication styles.
This campaign by Old Spice broke a number of thresholds of advertising, setting new benchmarks for everyone in the industry, right from FMCG competitors, Social Media barons to Ad Agencies competing for cherished accounts.
It started from ground zero, with a campaign released on television. The campaign was for Old Spice Body Showers, and it was aimed to arouse the need for body showers with a decidedly ‘male’ fragrance. the masculinity was being targeted, and the interesting part was – the ad didn’t talk to the men, rather, it talked to the women, holding them responsible for making sure that ‘their men’ smelled manly. Watch below the campaign with Isaiah Mustafa playing ‘the Man your Man could smell like‘
The ad campaign brought the following things to fore:
1. Creating a cult image for a macho, handsome guy with wits at hand. Someone whose confidence is infectious, and humor likeable
2. Attacking the TG indirectly: They attack the fundamental observation that a lot of shopping is still done by women, and men let their toiletries being picked by their women. This ad puts the responsibility of ensuring the men’s masculinity squarely on the shoulders of the women. Men, of course, would always prefer to use a product which is made keeping them in mind.
(It should be noted that the campaign was made with minimal computer-generated imagery and rapidly shifting sets played a lot of role)
The best part of the campaign, it still had a LOT to go forward to. They went viral after this.
Here’s what they did: they invited responses online on social networking websites from common users. People were invited to ask questions to Mustafa (further building up on his image of the idol/guru for smartness, masculinity). And Mustafa gave responses to many of them (87 in total, including some celebrities like Alyssa Milano and Kevin Rose, his own daughter as well!), in video format, released on the internet, at YouTube.
These responses were what raised the bar for social media activists and ad agencies – the ads were made very close to real time, with responses immediately crafted after the queries, ending up with 87 short clips in less than 11 hours! Think about the tracking effort needed on social networks and the speed of action needed by the ad agencies (Wieden+Kennedy, the ad agency, take a bow). All these campaigns were uploaded on the Old Spice YouTube channel. Watch one of them below:
You can see all of them here.
So, lets talk about the overall campaign and see what all was done correctly:
1. As mentioned above: the ad was for a product made for men, and the message was directed to the women. This puts everyone on the radar for the message to be conveyed to, the that ensures that it is transmitted properly.
2. The viral campaign: The campaign gave an air of spontaneity to the character, further adding on to his cult image. Also, since the video responses were person specific, and Isaiah called out names in them, it made the responses much more personalized. It made the brand seem like it cared for its users/viewers, irrespective of whether it was their request being catered to or someone else’s.
3. The brand recall: The ad did not need to reiterate the brand name to the users. Old Spice is anyhow quite a well-known brand, and all they needed to do was to further bolster the masculinity associated, and to bring about some recall for the body shower, which they did – specatcularly
So, the campaign achieved almost everything that one hopes from an ad – brand recall, user generated content, a good user connect, and an on-going spreading viral. Kudos!
Ref: An excellent read for the viral campaign: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_old_spice_won_the_internet.php