Old Spice Man is hit on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter

Journalists would die rather than endorse a brand in print (well, at least, most of us would), but to not mention Old Spice this week would be to commit a cardinal sin. The Procter & Gamble men’s toiletries brand rewrote every rule of marketing there ever was to create a buzz for a product as mundane as a shower gel.

The concept was so simple it left the geniuses in the advertising world wondering why they did not think of it earlier. But then that’s what simple products do — Velcro and Post- It notes, for instance. What Old Spice did in two days, speculates a Forbes magazine blog writer, could become case studies in the world’s top management schools and indeed corporate boardrooms.

Here is what Old Spice’s advertising agency Wieden+ Kennedy did. They took their already popular Old Spice commercial starring actor and former American football star Isaiah Mustafa and made it interactive in real time by merging three video and social networks — YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Every single comment that viewers and readers put on the original commercial was remade into another video with Mustafa responding to fan messages.

One such fan asked the Old Spice Man if he would help him ask his girlfriend to marry him.

In the next one hour or so, Wieden+ Kennedy shot, edited and broadcast a request from Mustafa asking the girl to accept his proposal. She did, and the Web went into raptures.

Mustafa’s videos became a rage and before long some of the best known personalities on social media including Twitter CTO Biz Stone, were endorsing the Old Spice Man.

Tech blog TechCrunch reported that Google CFO Patrick Pichette was “impressed” with the campaign.

Stone said, “We are cracking up following @ OldSpice and watching these hilarious responses on YouTube.” When the YouTube blitz reached 140 videos, Stone tweeted again: “Wow, @ oldspice channel has exactly 140 YouTube videos. Does that smell like coincidence or something more powerful?” The 140 reference being, of course, the character limit on Twitter.

In less than 24 hours, the Old Spice page on Twitter had reached 71,000 followers, a rate of growth seen only by true blue celebrities such as talk show host Oprah Winfrey, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and basketball superstar LeBron James.

To keep up the celebrity quotient, most of the personal replies were to well known people. Some of them included former US President Bill Clinton’s political adviser and TV show host George Stephanopoulos, actor and singer Alyssa Milano, and the grandest name of all, actor Demi Moore, who had tweeted, “Old Spice Guy, I want a special video response now”. Who could say no to Demi Moore? By the way, the Demi Moore response video also took only an hour to be written, shot, edited and uploaded on YouTube.

But how was it done? After all it is not easy to script really funny videos however short they may be (and quite frankly, the shorter the tougher), and then shoot, edit and upload it in less than an hour.


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