A quick word on the Old Spice campaign

16 Jul 2010 by Randall Helms, 2 Comments »

It’s well worth checking out Marshall Kirkpatrick’s excellent round-up of the social media marketing phenomenon of the moment, the brilliant series of videos that Wieden + Kennedy have done for Old Spice. In my opinion, this is probably the best example of a brand using social media to engage directly; cutting dozens of short videos with the actor, Isaiah Mustafa, answering specific Tweets in character was a masterstroke. It’s simply brilliant, and I am sure we will see many knock-offs in short order.

On a buzz level, this campaign simply can not be beaten, so it will be fascinating to see the long-term impact of this campaign on sales of Old Spice. If there is a big (and sustained) boost, then I predict that this will be seen as a watershed moment for social media marketing (as Mashable, somewhat prematurely, has already said); however, if not much happens, then the sceptics will be (at least somewhat) vindicated. One of the interesting things to come out of my interviews so far is the level of scepticism that exists amongst practitioners as to the value of social media, in particular due to the absence of easy tools for understanding return on investment. Such views would certainly be emboldened by the failure of this campaign to alter Old Spice’s market share, especially given the huge hype and exposure that it has brought the brand. Of course, it may simply be the case that there is only so much that marketing can do to reposition a product like Old Spice, considering its, um, distinctive scent. In any case, this is a fascinating test for the proposition that social media represents a new paradigm of marketing, so it is well worth paying attention to what happens to this story over the months and years to come.


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