Flash back a couple of years and this advertisement was all the rage with 52.7 million views on YouTube to this day. Some people put it’s success down to the fact that it offers something for everyone. For women there was an attractive man spending a full 32 seconds shirtless, for men there were funny one liners that were relatable and glorified masculinity. The real reason for success however, was the creative minds behind the ad at Old Spice HQ.
First, a bit of background on Old Spice. Basically they are an American company that have a range of male grooming products such as deodorant, body wash and “man fresheners”…. Yes that is now apparently a thing. Their whole image is based on macho masculinity and offering products that have manly packaging and names such as the Odour Blocker, Dirt Destroyer and Sweat Defence.
Look down, Back up, now back to the ad. Old Spice managed to create humorous content that remained consistent with their brand image and values, while being entertaining to both men and women. The main actor in the ad portrayed the ideal state of many men, planting the idea that the use of Old Spice makes you a better man and bridges the gap between a person’s actual state and the ideal. Maintaining this message that Old Spice = Masculinity demonstrated a great integrated marketing approach as the values were kept consistent across past social media and other advertisements. Maintaining consistency across a brand is one of the key factors to the success of a viral campaign (Mangold and Faulds).
Creating an advertisement with the hope of it going viral can be a bit like diving from an 8 metre board. If it is done well the outcome is fantastic, but if the execution is poor it can end in an epic fail. What made this ad so brilliant is that Old Spice provided the perfect platform for consumers to have a discussion about the ad and the products. Social media was buzzing with talk about Old Spice and of course a million memes. The conversation this ad sparked not only created exponential growth for the company and generated a wider reach, but also made the brand more credible as consumers were sharing their experiences of using their products. Old Spice had the perfect amount of control over the campaign to shape discussion without killing the campaign by trying to control it too much (Kaplan & Haenlein).
Overall, the campaign was a triumph and had a really positive effect on the brand as sales spiked by 106% according to parent company P&G. The combination of great content and a marketing plan that followed the five pieces of advice when spreading a virus by Kaplan & Haenlein, lead to one of the greatest viral advertising campaigns of all time. Check out an example of how Old Spice followed up the ad campaign by directly interacting with their users, each generating hundreds of thousands of views. All of these videos where made with the original actor and set and maintained the masculinity and message the viral ad projected.
Thanks for reading!
Let me know what other viral campaigns you can think of that succeeded.