Old Spice smells like social media success

To all the companies out there who’ve been trying to use social media : You’ve just been schooled.

Procter & Gamble, the company behind the Old Spice men’s after shave took the line of products that generally made people think of their uncle or that old guy down the street, and not only made them cool again but made them some of the most talked about products on the Internet this week. Old Spice launched a social media blitz this past week that will have their YouTube videos being replayed for months, and other companies studying how they did it.

“The Old Spice strategy makes brilliant use of social media,” said Augie Ray, an analyst with market research firm Forrester. “The response has been terrific. Social networks are buzzing. Video resharing has been very high, and the Old Spice YouTube channel now has 75 million total upload views. And this effort shows evidence of going even more viral.”

Old Spice received a lot of attention earlier this year when it first aired some quirky commercials featuring ex-football player Isaiah Mustafa, who played up the product while making fun of heart throbs from Harlequin romance novels. This week, Proctor & Gamble had Mustafa making a list of quick-hit videos that responded individually to some fans’ messages and questions that came to them via Facebook , Yahoo and Twitter .

The videos — all of which featured Mustafa bare-chested and with a towel wrapped around his waist, holding a bottle of Old Spice and addressing individual users, such as “W. Spencer on Twitter ” and “Rose from Yahoo” — had people flocking to YouTube to play and replay them. Even comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and actress Alyssa Milano got in on the action, posting their own questions.

The videos were released over a few days during the week.

On Friday morning, the Old Spice videos, which were the brainchild of Portland, Ore.-based ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, accounted for seven of the top 10 videos on YouTube.

“Certainly, they showed everyone how to create viral videos,” said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. “This was surprisingly good work from a brand that most folks had largely written off as obsolete. They created an entertaining video that also made the company appear new and trendy.”

Using social networks like Twitter and YouTube was a big part of making that happen, added Enderle.

Ray also noted that Procter & Gamble Old Spice was successful with the Old Spice campaign because the company used social media to enable consumers to participate. By working through Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter, customers, and non-customers who were amused by the effort, were able to send in questions as silly as, “How do I get women to stop chasing me after I use Old Spice body wash?” And then many of them were able to see Mustafa give funny answers to their specific questions.

It’s all about customer participation.

“Another lesson from this successful program is the value of giving up some control, which happened at several different levels,” said Ray. “A typical ad takes months to plan and execute … Consumers were asked for their input, then a team of social media experts, marketers, writers, videographers and actor Isaiah Mustafa were sequestered to produce over 150 different video responses over the course of two days.”

Computerworld (US)

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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