I’m on a horse/boat/motorcycle etc. etc.

30 Jul

(Guest post from U Vic Faculty of Business student Michela Byl)

Old Spice has done it again (and again, and again, and again).  They’ve just released 100+ viral ads directed at prominent players in the social media world- Demi Moore, Perez Hilton and Ellen DeGeneres,  to name a few.  Following the same simple-yet-wacky formula of the I’m on a horse spot, the team at Wieden + Kennedy has essentially created an army of ever-watchable Isaiah Mustafa’s- their sole mission to promote Old Spice.

I asked Doug Brown if he thought the viral campaign would drive the brand’s message better than the original tv-directed ads, and he brought up something I can’t believe I missed: although each format has it’s own benefits, together they become something much more.  I believe cumulative impact is how he put it.

Impact indeed: sales for the brand have increased an incredible 107 percent in the past month alone.  Most of this was prior to the viral campaign launch, so one may argue that the tv ads (and Mustafa’s abs) were the sole driver behind the increase.  However, I don’t think it would be inaccurate by any stretch of the imagination to say that without online streams, the ads would not have been as successful.  After watching the spot on Youtube in March, I’ve since twittered, facebooked and blogged about it- and I’m not the only one.

No doubt Old Spice saw that and made a move to completely take over the social media sphere.  With their feet firmly planted in both the internet and commercial time slots, their sales continue to increase.  It may be safe to say that the time has come where tv-only ads won’t quite cut it.  Maybe even online-only ads won’t cut it.  One this is for sure though- put these media streams together, and you have one powerful brand awareness campaign.

I suppose having a Mustafa army doesn’t hurt, either.


4 Responses to “I’m on a horse/boat/motorcycle etc. etc.”

  1. Fraser Campbell July 30, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    Whilst I applaud the campaign from Old Spice, I think you have to be very wary about attributing the increase in sales to the campaign. Such a direct correlation is never that straight-forward, and indeed in this case the attribution should be at least partially made to a coupon campaign that Old Spice is also currently running. To put this into perspective, Gilette are also running a coupon drop and their sales have increased 277% in the four weeks ended June 13th (if I am reading the chart correctly – http://blog.2fresh.com/2010/07/how-much-old-spice-body-wash-has-old.html)

    Time will tell how much of the sales are down to the campaign, but one thing is for sure, Old Spice certainly know how to run an all-round marketing push.

  2. dougbrowncreative July 30, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    (Michela’s reply)
    A very good point- no doubt the coupons had an large impact on the sales
    increase as well.
    Though to contrast that, how many people know about the coupon campaign?
    It has definitely not been represented in social media streams, in fact,
    this is the first I’ve heard about it- and I’m the target audience!
    My point here is that the tv and viral ad campaigns have provided immense
    word-of-mouth for the brand, something that could not have been
    accomplished on such a scale without social media. Though ultimately
    sales are any company’s goal, it’s safe to say that they’re always looking
    for good (and free) publicity too.
    Thank you so much for your comment.

  3. Shane July 30, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    Great post Michela. Other than those washboard abs, I think the ability for W&K to create the spots so quickly played a big part in the campaign success (thanks in part to a trusting client). The internet sure loves its content hyper-fresh. High production values for the YouTube spots also helped them stand out above the glut of user-generated riff-raff as well.

    While it is debatable that the sales increase was caused by the TV and YouTube videos or other promo/category activity, I think it would be hard to call the SM campaign a failure even if the sales needle didn’t move. More than the millions of views, RT’s, and publicity, these spots have infused themselves into pop culture for some time to come. What do you call that and how do you measure it? How does this support the brand in the long-term? Or did Isaiah hijack the campaign away from the brand (doesn’t he have a spot coming up on Oprah and a movie deal with Jennifer Aniston?)

  4. Eden September 17, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    Shane, I love what you said about the campaign being infused into pop culture. I know that every time I walk by the soap aisle now I say, “I’m on a horse!” or “Hello, ladies. How are you? Fantastic!” and I don’t even fit into the target market (being a consumer of “lady-scented body wash”).

    In comparison to the Axe body wash ads, which inspire nothing more than an eye-roll from most consumers (and their girlfriends), it’s refreshing to see a campaign that hits so many mediums (tv, print, Youtube) and is genuinely entertaining. Somehow it strikes a balance between being “macho” and not offending all the ladies in the room (beer companies, take note).

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