When Old Spice is mentioned, if anything comes to mind at all, it’s … old. And not old in a dignified or wise way. That’s all changed for me today, as I’ve just seen evidence that their current marketing campaign is
one of the cleverest commercial use of social media I’ve ever seen (thanks to a post from mUmbrella). The story begins with this well-produced, amusing advertisement for Old Spice:
Apparently it won some awards and so forth, but it’s still just a normal tv spot.
Then, today, things started to get interesting on the Old Spice YouTube channel (with links on Twitter, Facebook and even Reddit) as Isaiah Mustafa, in his Old Spice role, started replying to comments from people online. First off, a big media nod to Ellen DeGeneres, and it seemed like there might be a series of carefully scripted replies to recognisable celebrities and media platforms (all amplifying the Old Space brand, of course). But then the Old Spice marketers did something really clever: the replies in the videos shifted aim, towards non-celebrity, ‘ordinary’ internet users who’ve made comments somewhere (YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, etc) about the Old Spice ads. Suddenly, that netherworld of social media comments, which so often feels like screaming into the wind, brought a deluge of replies from the Old Spice guy. Over one hundred Old Spice replies were uploaded in 24 hours, the vast majority of which are in reply to comments made today. Just as impressive, the writing team have obviously enjoyed their energy drinks, because the scripts were hilarious, endearing, ironic and certainly every single reply is worth watching.
No doubt the most notable Old Spice reply will be one done in reply to jsbeals’s request to pass on his marriage proposal; the story ends well as she apparently said yes! However, what really impressed me is that the masculinity of the Old Spice ads, while driving the marketing pitch, is also deeply ironic (which rather suits the a brand of this vintage), poking particular fun at its own notion of ‘being a man’:
The Old Spice replies are also littered with internet-driven humour, with a particular take on the age old pirates vs ninjas debate, a good poke at stupid YouTube handles in the form of a decent robot joke, an hilarious jab (and brave) jab at 4chan, /b/, and anonymous, and lots of other references to please us all. My favourite quirky video, though, was this seemingly innocuous reply to a tweet that came from Isaiah Mustafa …
and got this reply:
The funny thing, of course, is that Isaiah Mustafa is the guy in the ads, in the bathroom … in a towel (and I guess we know what’s under that towel now: the iPhone from which he’s tweeting to his own account!). Indeed, Mustafa has been a great sport, going along with some very quirky scripts that he’s obviously delivered very quickly. When the boundary between a game, a conversation and an advertising campaign becomes so thin, it’s everyone who wins. Old Spice 2.0 has certainly made me laugh today and I’m sure I’ll be reading about the Old Spice replies in pretty much every news media I go near tomorrow!