Oops!

22 Jul 2010 by Randall Helms, No Comments »

So, last Friday I briefly discussed the Old Spice campaign, and said that, despite its brilliance, the real test would be if it had a measurable impact on sales. Well …

The Internet has fallen in love with Isaiah Mustafa, the hunky face of Old Spice body wash. His television commercials went viral, as did a two-day YouTube ambush of video replies to fans. Mustafa’s first ad even won the Film Grand Prix at Cannes.

But buzz did not add up to sales, according to advertising news service WARC. Red Zone After Hours body wash sales have fallen seven percent, despite the ads … So why are sales down?

Jezebel argues the brand sent mixed messages. The ad’s tagline was “Smell Like a Man, Man,” yet Mustafa opens the ads with “Hello, ladies.” Who was supposed to actually buy the body wash? Plus, Old Spice has long been associated with our grandfathers, and it’s going to take more than a shirtless, funny man to change that perception.

It’ll be interesting to see the longer-term impact of this campaign, but at least initially, chalk this one up to the skeptics who saw this more as an engagement with modish hipster-types as opposed to the actual core customers of Old Spice. Reaching social media ‘influencers’ is pointless if they have no power to ‘influence’ the people who are actually likely to buy your product, and you can’t simply change your product demographic with clever ads. Still, at least for the actor, Isaiah Mustafa, it’s all working out nicely.

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